Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

How does one get fit without horses?

So as some of you know, I’ve spent some time over the last year on a quest for a way for me to stay fit that doesn’t involve four legged creatures that cost half a month's mortgage to keep…

The first of these options was a standard gym.  Why not?  Clearly works for some people.  Well I discovered you have to actually *go* to said gym to see any benefits.   Who knew?  And I used to go regularly after work, so why not this time?   Well it turns out, as energetic as I may be after work, after the 1.5h commute, I’m done.  There will be no gym as long as I have that commute regularly.  Turns out the only way I can do the gym is if I have a trainer and, well, that cost as much as my horse’s board.  So no.

Then I found P90X3.  Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while may remember that adventure ;)   Those who have not – it’s a 90 day program that I think I wanted done before we went away in Feb, so check out blog posts starting November-ish…  It was intense, entertaining, and effective.  I debated repeating it that spring, but well – life.  

Life in that we moved, which is a workout and a time drain all in its own J

Then the weather got nice – okay, that I can do.  There was cycling most of the summer, playing with Sasha, and when I got really desperate, I trained and ran a half marathon.  Yeah – surprised me too ;)  And cycling is high on the list for next summer too.  (some of you might note, running is not ;-P)

The problem?  We’re now back to that awful part of the year known as “not summer”.   The next thing I tried was climbing, which was a ton of fun.  I really enjoy the puzzle – knowing there is, in fact, a way to the top; I just need to figure out how.  Well that, and be physically able to execute it.   That was fun and entertaining, but has a few down sides – first it requires a buddy.   Steph was game and came along with me, but coordinating two busy schedules is a challenge.   Secondly, due to the aforementioned commute, I can only go when it’s packed.  Which would be okay, except that both Steph and I are novice and there are only so many routes we have a chance of making it up.  And then there’s the fact that while most climbers I know are very fit, this – at least the way we were doing it – is not going to get us there anytime soon.   Steph at least has riding and other fitness opportunities, but for me not so much.  

And then I ate enough cookies for a girl-guide troop over the Xmas break.   Oops.   Being pretty much out of ideas for fun ways of getting fit (why is there no adult gymnastics or circus school near me?!?!) I was considering P90X3 again.  They have different programs – last time I did the Lean one, and I’d be interested in doing the Classic.  However, my absolute favourite part of those workouts is the chin-up bar.  What can I say?  I was a jungle-gym kid.   But my bar doesn’t work in the new house.  Booo.   And while the program does provide alternative exercises, every time I have to use a stupid band instead of a fun bar I get really aggravated.   This does unfortunately, makes it highly unlikely I’d stick to the program.

However, the company that sells P90X3, also sells a variety of other programs.   “22 Minute Hard Corps” I’d been considering.  The trainer is the same as in the P90 series (and I find him amusing, so was okay with that), and the workouts are short, which makes odds of happening before work greatly increased.  But Nicole has done it, and from what she described to me it would not be a good fit (mostly because it’s very repetitive, which to me equals boring).   So I went online to browse the others; I read and debated and googled and eventually decided I would try Core de Force.  It seemed to be based on various martial arts – and the kind of fighting where your only opponent is a shadow, which I really enjoyed that one in P90X3 (lol went back and reread that post -- turns out there's some impressive foreshadowing there).   Wasn’t sure I’d want a whole training program focused on it, but meh – worth a try.

My lovely DVDs arrived and the first thing I noticed was, unlike many of the other programs, these are not half an hour.  Routines range about 35-50 minutes, not counting warmup and cooldown.  And looking at the calendar – some days you do two!?!?!  Right – we’ll get there.  Right now I’m only on week one and here are first impressions.   The first video, MMA Speed, was a moderately entertaining coordination challenge.  I liked the layout of the exercises (roughly a minute of exercise followed by 30 seconds of cardio.  Repeat twice.  Rest 30 seconds.  Rinse and repeat with both the exercise and the cardio changing).   I was slightly disappointed that they don’t do a good job of working each side of the body equally, but easy enough for me to alter once I figured out the system.   I was also slightly disappointed that it didn’t seem nearly as impressive a workout as P90X3.  Yes I was tired and dragging a little by the end, but not the lying-on-the-floor extreme of P90X3, and I’m significantly less fit now than I was then.

And then I woke up the next day and couldn’t get out of bed.  Like literally throw one leg out and let gravity do the rest because sitting up was just not an option.  Core de Force.  Core.  Did any of you catch that part?   Hahaha cause I definitely did not.  Right.  Made it through the day somehow but by dinner even breathing was a challenge.  Okay, day two can skip a day.  Core de Force for the win.   The next day I tried the next video – this one was strength rather than fighting and I did not enjoy it at all.   Evenly divided between upper and lower body, but the upper body section is almost entirely variations of pushups and I am simply not strong enough for that.   They do have a person doing modifications – so sometimes I did those, and sometimes I picked up random free weights and used those instead, but yeah.  Less fun.  And very frustrating.   The lower body part I was able to do no problem, again didn’t seem like that big a challenge, and again I felt it the next day ;)

So you get to repeat those – all good.   Then a new one "MMA Shred" – this one it looks like replaces the Speed video for the remainder of the month.  It follows the same concept – fight some shadows, do some cardio (running away from the shadows?), rinse and repeat.  Here though, however, there are some new moves.  If you try this and have zero martial arts training, keep it slow.   Please trust me on this.  I, as you may have guessed, did not.  There’s one move where you slide your hand (open palm) along your cheek (think as though you were running your fingers through your hair), this is to bring your elbow up so you can promptly use it to destroy the person in front of you in a sharp out and down strike (moderately good stress relief this ;).  All good right?  Except when you get going fast, and this move is combined with others that involve twisting, it becomes ridiculously easy to instead of running your hand smoothly past your face, in fact either smack and/or punch yourself.   Sadly I am not kidding.  Keep it slow and structured folks – the people on the TV have done it a few times ;-P

So the next morning my core wasn’t as toasted – although it’s possible I didn’t push *quite* as hard being
that I wanted to be able to breath at work.  But I definitely did feel through my back and shoulders, so still impressive even while guarded.   I have the icky strength video again tonight and then an “active rest” day – we’ll see what that’s about.  Next week there’s at least a couple entirely new ones; should be entertaining, esp as judging by the description both the difficulty and the complexity goes up significantly.   And assuming I don’t critically injure myself in a shadow battle, I’ll let you know how it goes!


Post a Comment