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A New Kind of Pain

Hi, everyone! I hope you're well on your way to being ready for Christmas (less than 2 weeks!) and that your book list is starting to come together for 2016. 

I realize I haven't posted any fresh content in two weeks and honestly it's mostly because there hasn't been much of interest to report. I've been buying Christmas presents, planning the day-of meal, working and generally going about my usual business. But I do have one new thing, so I thought I'd share. I have a new workout routine!

I think the hardest part about exercising (besides finding the time some days) is boredom. Truth.

I can't remember how many times I thought it would be nice to have a personal trainer or invest in a series of DVDs ... something, anything to motivate me. I do enjoy running and I still do that a couple times a week. In fact, I'm signed up and ready for the 2016 Color Run 5K in January! But I like variety. Running is good cardio, but I also wanted to do something that involved strength and stretching to sort of round things out and tone up.

A couple of months ago, while surfing a random website, I came across a link to a site called Blogilates.com. That is where I discovered Pop PIlates. 

Pop PIlates is a very challenging style of exercise created by Cassey Ho and the best thing about it is that you can do it for free! She posts her workout videos to YouTube and you can pull up any you want to do at any time. Amazing! (And she is certified to teach.)

One caveat: she's very high energy and often rambles about her nail polish and other such girly things. However, I will say that I found that to be the case more in her earlier beginner videos than in her current ones, so it's gotten better and also, now that I'm more used to her personality and can appreciate the quality of the workouts, I mind it a lot less.

In mid-November, I started the Beginner 2.0 calendar (all you have to do is sign up for her newsletter and once a month she sends out the password to access the new calendar). You work out 6 days a week, then take an off day to really rest and recover. The beginner calendar truly does teach you the technique and ease you into the workout style. If you've never done pilates before, it's largely based around core exercises, but Cassey's videos range from high-intensity cardio to strength to stretching, so it really does capture the full range of what I was looking for.

As of this past Saturday, I officially switched over from the end of the beginner calendar to the current December workout calendar, so with Sunday being my off day, I've now done 3 days of the regular routine. 

Oh. My. Goodness. 

Once again I'm being challenged beyond my current capability (which is a good thing as long as I don't let myself get frustrated). The workouts are longer now, closer to an hour total. But I definitely feel like I'm getting more toned and more able. I can't always finish all of the reps, but I try my darndest! Abs! Legs! Butt! Arms! I'm working them all.

My favorite part about this program is that each day consists of 4-5 separate videos, so it's never the same thing you've done before. New videos, new combinations of videos ... no two days are the same. (My second favorite part is buying cute new workout clothes. Lol.) 

I'm not going to lie. These workouts aren't for everyone. But if you're looking for a challenge, you might give it a try. And you could always just do one video at a time rather than follow everything on the calendar if you the like the style of the program but don't want to kill yourself (apparently I do). I don't personally do her meal plan because my goal is just to work hard and eat the same healthy, well-portioned types of foods that I cook normally. I have at leaset reduced the number of desserts & drinks I allow myself per week to 2 each (besides my normal coffee & water). 

I didn't think to weigh myself before I started the whole thing, but in the last month, I've lost about 3 pounds. And I like to think that it's actually more if you think in terms of fat lost and muscle gained since muscle weighs more. But far more importantly than weight loss, I've found that the muscles I've built doing this have improved my running too. So, win-win!

Anyway, I've been really into this for the last month, so I just thought I'd share. And one of the best benefits? More energy throughout the day. I love it!

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