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Non-Running Runner Adventures: Billy Blanks Tae Bo DVD Review

6 Jan

Continuing on my non-running regime (bummer), I bought another DVD to try out for morning when it’s too freaking cold to walk to the gym at 6am–”feels like” 4 degrees?!–but I want a butt kicking. I find that I feel a lot better all day with a little butt kicking under my belt, and If I could get one everyday that would be sweet. I miss my morning runs alot at this moment in time.

Short slightly unrelated to the DVD story: Before embarking on said DVD purchase, I was feeling down and out about having such a wimpy workout regime and started looking for solutions that would keep me accountable and get me back in shape as soon as possible. Kinda like magic. I came across something called the Pure Power Boot Camp in NYC and thought it looked perfect: a military trainer will kick my ass four times a week for six weeks. I will be buff, I will pump. you up. I called them to inquire about the cost since it’s nowhere on the website. They got back to me–over $900! WHAT! And this is where the story ends.

So. I bought a workout DVD to do in the comfort of my small Brooklyn apartment bedroom in the morning before work. It cost $15, a much more affordable investment. The Billy Blanks Ultimate Tae Bo workout.

The DVD has an option to do an hour and a half of Tae Bo, or there’s also a shorter condensed butt-kicking option. I opted for the condensed version. The one thing that’s cool about working out in your room alone is that you can wear whatever you want, i.e. pajamas. Sweet.

Review: The pumped up condensed workout was about twenty minutes long, which was maybe a little short, but kinda perfect if you have little time in the morning. I honestly didn’t think my butt was being kicked that hard, but I was doing upper-cuts, high kicks, speed bag, jabs and more Tae Bo type moves. The routine was definitely not boring–it was fast paced and changed very frequently to different routines and different muscle groups. Billy Blank is ripped, by the way. One of his thighs is bigger than both of my legs put together. Bigger than an anaconda who just ate something really big and still has it sitting in it’s snake stomach. Wasn’t that a weird analogy? I’m leaving it in.

I didn’t think the workout was anything spectacular as far as cardio–my heartrate never really soared. But I have to tell you, I am sore today and I did not expect it at all. My arms and my back are definitely in pain. That’s pretty cool because I’m pretty sure I never (ever) workout my back.

Thanks Billy. You did some things for me. I’m sure the hour and a half version is like running a Tae Bo marathon.

The Secret to Successful Winter Running

16 Dec

This morning I was determined to get some sort of workout in. I was successful in hitting up the gym Monday and Tuesday, but I had an 8am conference call this morning. I would have had to take it from the locker room. Not an option.

I decided, I would go outside starting at my Greenpoint park, try a run (again), and worst case scenerio I would walk/run, or sprint/jog, to get my heartrate up and a good sweat in a small amount of time. Because less time equals less time in the cold.

I put on the following mix of technical and non-technical running gear for a 30 minute, 30 degree workout:

  • my new long sleeve Asics thermopolis shirt
  • a regular Gap zip-up hoody over that
  • technical running tights from high school. at least 8 years old. doubt there’s any “technical” properties left.
  • running gloves that i scored from when we sponsored the Wineglass marathon a few years ago
  • an old winter hat from H&M- the label says 100% acrylic

post winter run wave

This time around, I felt good! I was warm, dry, and thought to myself “this is not bad! I can do this every morning!”. My face was chilly, definitely, the inch of ankle skin peeking between my sneakers and tights sucked, but overall I felt securely warm everywhere else.

And here’s what I believe the secret to be: THE HAT.

From now on, every run in 40 degrees or less will start out with a winter hat on. That’s where so much warmth escapes from, as all our moms told us when we were growing up. If you didn’t listen to her, listen to me (maybe). It’s true. And hat’s are where it’s at.

P.S. what a sweaty, unattractive photo of me. happy holidays :)

P.P.S. Check out my friend Becca’s blog for a sweet coffee giveaway

Winter Running Gear Doesn’t Mean Success

15 Dec

On Sunday morning, determined to get my running mojo back (the winter is an evil, evil, mojo stealer), I went to Paragon Sports in the city and spent a large sum of money on technical winter running gear. The items? An Asics Thermopolis long sleeve top (below) and a Brooks windbreaker type jacket. I argued: this is an investment in my health, as I handed the cashier my credit card. I told him this theory and he agreed. I felt good.

After a fun, silly, long brunch–there’s no other way to do it–with two other NYC bloggers Leslie and Sofia, I planned an afternoon run. I got back to Brooklyn, digested for a hot minute, and donned my new gear. I have a tendency (bad habit, laziness, impatience.. whatever) to buy clothes without trying them on. The thermopolis shirt in a size xs fit perfect, the Brooks jacket in size xs = not so good. The sleeves landed just at my wrists which doesn’t lend well to ‘end-of-the-sleeve-grabbage’ while on a cold run. I know you know what I mean.

I made due with my shopping ignorance by pulling the shirtsleeves through the jacket and over my hands. Score.

All this effort was for nothing though. I got outside, started down the block. And stopped. It didn’t feel good! wtf? It always feels good. I was confused. I walked for one block then started up again. Negative. Still not good. I repeated the walk one, run one twice more and went in. LAME LACEY. Yeah. Bullocks.

I am going to return the jacket, but keep the shirt and hopefully try again soon. Note for winter gear buyers: the shirt kept me warm, but the thin, windbreaker (one-freakin-hundred-dollar) jacket wasn’t good. It held the wet that the other technical shirt was trying to wick away right against my skin. Lose.

In more news: no running or activity means bad sleeping. I am just not tired at night. So I figured, what the hell, and went to the gym (gasp!) after work today to have some fun. Yes, have some fun. I was actually looking forward to just wingin’ it.

First back to the gym workout (lists always make the workout look hardcore):

  • 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill at 5mph up to 6mph
  • 3×12 on a machine that works back + biceps–i should’ve looked at the name
  • 1×8 on a chest press that wasn’t set up for my height and I almost pulled a muscle in my chest so I stopped. I definitely looked like that girl who doesn’t know a thing about weights. Truth.
  • 3×10 bicep curls with 10lb weights
  • 3×10 shoulder raises with 5lb weights
  • 3×8 push ups
  • 2×30 bicycle crunches
  • 10 minute cool-down on the treadmill at an incline at 6mph down to 5mph
  • 5 minutes of walking jammin’ out to my ipod cuz it felt good.

I dug the gym. It was different. Maybe I’ll get stronger and avoid twenty degree weather windburn and hypothermia. Okay, I’m being extreme. But still.

P.S. To help me fall asleep lately, I’ve been reading a poem anthology book. This quote is from a poem called “Frost at Midnight” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It captures an essence of NYC for me:

“This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,

With all the numberless goings-on of life,

Inaudible as dreams!”

… aaand goodnight.

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