Monday, March 31, 2008

Tough Home Workout -- Cathe's Power Hour

If you're not convinced that you can get a good workout at home, you haven't tried Power Hour. Cathe Friedrich is at her best in this workout from several years ago (2001). Power Hour has been compared to Body Pump classes in that the music is planned to go with the moves and each body part is complete at the end of each song.

Before I get too far from the photo, I have to say that my favorite cast member in Cathe's videos is on the right (Cathe's left). Her names is Rhonda and she is such a delight to work out with. She's always full of joy, no matter what she's doing. She has this mixture of grace and merriment that is a pleasure to behold. I know this may sound a little over the top in observing a background exerciser, but she's really that fun to have in my morning workouts :).

I won't review Power Hour in full (or even do it justice with a partial review --
you can find those here from the VF site). But I will just tell you that it's a great full body muscle endurance (high rep) workout that will challenge you at any level. I started doing it in 2001 and continued using it weekly throughout my last pregnancy. I had to lower the weights as I went, but it was still a solid workout that kept my body strong.

I did it today (that's me this
very morning) as part of my STS-like periodization plan I'm doing right now. I do it every Monday for the first 4 weeks, (with Cathe's Legs & Glutes workout on Wednesdays, her Muscle Endurance workout on Fridays and cardio on the days in between).

I know many people say that they can't get motivated to work out from home -- that they need a friend or someone "live" to work out with to help them keep going. I find the opposite to be true for me.
With a video workout, I can find the best instructors in the fitness industry who have well-planned workouts and know how to get you to work.

I do like some things about live classes, but there are many drawbacks. One is that I am never sure of what the teacher will deliver (and sometimes it's not suited to your body or mood. With videos, I can preview, read reviews, get an idea of what I'm in for before I begin. I especially like this for a yoga practice because some instructors or styles just lose my interest fast or don't feel right for my body. I've been stuck in a few classes where I don't want to offend the instructor by leaving, but just don't feel like I'm able to get into the practice (and battle with myself throughout, wanting to leave and just do yoga that's more suited to me).

I also like that in a home workout, I'm never thinking about any one else in the room -- what someone else may think of how I'm doing, or getting distracted myself by what others are doing. I can really focus on my workout and let it carry me to greater heights.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wheat Breakfast Recipes -- Fruit Muffins, Scones & Cracked Wheat

I'm finding that I cook a lot with wheat -- I didn't realize I had so many recipes to share. I love to bake in the winter to keep the house warmer. It just feels nice too with the aroma of freshly baked goods. Even if I'm eating raw and mostly eat my sprouted wheat goods, it's hearty and healthy for the rest of my family.

Here's a favorite recipe that I morphed from a McDougall cookbook. I can apples every few years and use those for the muffins where it calls for apple sauce, but I'll write both. This recipe is so versatile. I've changed it up when I was out of apple juice and used grape juice instead, which made me think I should use berries to go with that stronger taste. That same day I realized my muffin pan was still at the school, so I made scones instead and they were an instant hit. I liked them because they had that muffin top wonder that tastes so much better than the bottom. So I'll post both recipes and will add at the bottom of each that they can be made into muffins or scones (or even a sweet bread if you have a mini-loaf pan). I've done all of the above.

Apple/Oatmeal Muffins
1/2 c. apple juice
1 c. canned apples or apple sauce
1/2 c. honey
2 eggs (optional if vegan -- bakes fine w/o them, just a little drier)

2 T oil (optional -- this was originally an oil-free recipe -- I find my kids like them better w/oil because they're more moist, but they bake just fine without the oil too)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. salt
3 c. wheat flour
2 c. oatmeal (old fashioned)

Mix ingredients -- wet first, then add in dry. Pour into muffin pan at 3/4 full. If you'd rather make them into scones, scoop w/ice cream scoop onto baking stone or sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. If you make mini-muffins, it will only take about 20 minutes. If you want to make it into mini-loaves, it will take more like 45 minutes. These freeze well to keep fresh if you can't eat them all within a few days.

Berry Scones
1/2 c. grape juice
1 c. apple sauce
1/2 c. honey
2 eggs (optional if vegan -- bakes fine w/o them, just a little drier)
2 T oil (optional -- this was originally an oil-free recipe -- I find my kids like them better w/oil because they're more moist, but they bake just fine without the oil too)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. salt
3 c. wheat flour
2 c. oatmeal (old fashioned)

2 c. fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)

Mix ingredients -- wet first, then add in dry. Fold in berries at the end. If the berries are fresh, they may come apart when mixing -- you can coat the berries with a little unrefined sugar to keep them together if you'd like. Scoop batter w/ice cream scoop or large serving spoon onto baking stone or sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. If you'd like to make muffins, fill muffin tin to 3/4 full. If you make mini-muffins, it will only take about 20 minutes. If you want to make it into mini-loaves, it will take more like 45 minutes. These freeze well to keep fresh if you can't eat them all within a few days.

I'll have to make some and post a picture in the next few days.

-- I also like to make cracked wheat with just raisins and cinnamon (and often flax too) on cold mornings. If you haven't tasted plump cooked raisins, you're in for a treat!

Cracked Wheat & Raisins
3/4 c. cracked wheat (either by hand or from the store)
3 c. water
1/2 c. raisins (usually just a handful)
1 t. cinnamon
1 T. ground flax seed

Put wheat, raisins and water into pan, rice cooker, or large glass bowl. There are a variety of ways to cook your cracked wheat. I've done it in the microwave for about 14 minutes on high in a glass mixing bowl. It sometimes boils over and microwaving destroys nutrients, so I don't do it this way anymore. But it's still better for you than most cold cereals and is a hand option if you don't have a rice cooker or the time to stand near the stove.

If you have a rice cooker, follow the instructions for the cooker for brown rice and it will cook up the wheat just wonderfully. If you use a pan on the stove, let water rise to a boil, add wheat and raisins, let boil for about 15 minutes, stirring and watching so it won't burn.

Stir in cinnamon and flax seed when it's all cooked. (You can add them before cooking, but they often end up boiling out and drying on the top edges of the pan or bowl). The finished cooked wheat should be moist. If too much water has boiled out, just add in some hot water to moisten it up. Super soothing and wonderful to warm you up.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wheat Recipes -- Waffles, Pancakes & French Toast

I didn't think good fluffy waffles were possible with just whole wheat, but I was wrong. I make them all the time and they're wonderful. Yes, they have more oil than pancakes, but they're a nice wholesome treat for mealtimes or dessert. We top them with real maple syrup or a variety of fruits -- fresh berries, peaches, mangos or cooked apples, berries, or peaches w/cinnamon. I usually put so much fruit on mine that you can't even see the waffles anymore. To me, it's like eating a pie or shortcake with a much healthier crust! Obviously, I don't eat these when I'm eating all raw, but it's great for the rest of my family and is something I can join in with when I'm eating a high raw diet.

Fluffy Whole Wheat Waffles

1 c. soy or almond milk
2 eggs
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. wheat flour
1/4 c. oil
2 T. honey or unrefined sugar

Mix by hand or in mixer. Pour onto hot waffle iron as directed by the appliance user guide. Save what you don't eat in a ziploc bag and reheat in the toaster for up to a week if refrigerated. I usually triple or quadruple the recipe to have them handy for quick breakfasts for my kids throughout the week.

-- I have one son who for some unknown reason loves pancakes, but won't eat the waffles. So I make pancakes more often than waffles. Sometimes I just use the waffle batter for pancakes too, but if I make them alone, I adapt the earlier recipe with 1/2 the oil or use this other great pancake recipe.

Wonderful Wheat Pancakes
3 c. wheat flour
1 t. salt
1 T. baking powder
2 eggs
3 c. soy or almond milk (sometimes I use 1 c. water and 2 c. milk)
1 1/2 T. oil

If you don't eat eggs or are out of them, you can omit the eggs and increase the soy milk by 1/4 c. and increase the baking powder by 1/2 T.

Mix all together and cook until bubbly, then flip. As you cook, the batter seems to thicken. I end up adding a bit of water or soy milk as I go.

-- It may seem basic to list a French Toast recipe, but I have a little recipe I came up with in my last pregnancy almost 6 years ago when I was craving French Toast daily. The combination of sweetness from the vanilla soy and added cinnamon is just great!

Sweet & Spice French Toast
2 eggs
1/2 c. vanilla soy milk
1/2 t. cinnamon
whole wheat bread

(I actually just pour in the soy milk and cinnamon and you can too if you don't feel like measuring, but these ratios are right, so you make it once, see the consistency and run with it from there).

Stir together in a flat dish. I usually use a glass bread pan because it's rectangular like the bread slices. Dip bread on both sides and cook over the stove until brown.

Top with real maple syrup or fruit.

-- I'll post my sweet bread recipes either later today or tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wheat Recipes -- pizza dough & bread

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. It's Easter vacation, school is out and the house is hopping! We have three birthdays within a week and had the first party (with over 30 teenagers here) on Tuesday. Very fun, but doesn't leave much time for thought and writing! I figured I could focus enough to post a few good recipes. I hope I can anyway (music playing loudly in the background, children jumping around, etc. :))

A few years ago when I got into raw foods, I wanted to take some steps at getting food for my family
healthier too. I decided to stop buying white flour and refined sugars. I know some people have wheat allergies and are cutting out wheat, but I find if I grind it up myself, I don't have problems with it like I do with refined wheat. My youngest son tested highly allergic to wheat a few years ago (was getting eczema from head to toe) and we found with a few mishaps that he actually doesn't have any problems with fresh whole wheat -- just with refined wheat products (especially white flour!) So we are grateful to know that. He's happy to be able to have toast and pancakes again. And I'm happy to not have to experiment with all the other grains that don't behave quite as nicely as wheat does.

I have many, many 5 gallon buckets full of hard red wheat and spring white wheat. Both grind up wonderfully for baking. I crack the red wheat for hot cereal and sprout the white wheat (mainly because it's newer -- the red wheat is 10-30 years old and stores well & tastes fresh for cooking, but won't sprout when it's that old). The hard red wheat is heavy and hearty. It's good for dense bread, sweet bread (like pumpkin, banana or apple), cookies that you don't mind gritty (like peanut butter, oatmeal, or chocolate chip), even brownies. The spring white wheat is lighter and better for lighter loaves such as homemade french bread, muffins, or anything that you don't want weighed down quite as much. Either works well for pancakes or waffles.

I've decided that if I do have pizza, it's with homemade crust, sauce, and veggies. I've tried raw pizza and it was about the biggest disappointment I've ever had in my raw food ventures. It took so much effort to make and didn't have any redeeming quality -- not a single one. So if I go for pizza, it will be one of my cooked creations. I have 2 crusts that work well -- one (Pizza Crust I) is just my homemade bread recipe. It's heavy, but good. I use it when I'm already making bread and just double the recipe to make pizza too. The other (Pizza Crust II) is actually a pizza crust recipe a friend gave me that I morphed a bit to make healthier.

Pizza Crust I (bread dough recipe)
Combine and let rise until foamy:
2 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. honey
1 1/2 T. yeast

Stir into a big bowl:
1/3. c. oil
1 t. salt
2-3 c. wheat flour

Add yeast mixture to wheat mixture; Stir in additional
5-6 c. wheat flour

Cover with damp towel and let rise until double (can let rise in oven at 170 degrees)
Knead a bit, shape into pizza rounds, let rise again for about 10-15 minutes)

Bake pizza at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Pizza Crust II
1 pkg. or T. yeast
1 c. warm water
1 T. unrefined sugar or honey

1 c. ice cold water

1 T. salt (less if you're restricting salt)
2 T. olive oil
5 - 5 1/2 c. wheat flour

In small bowl, stir yeast, warm water, and sugar -- let sit for 5 minutes until yeast becomes frothy.

In a bigger bowl, stir cold water, salt and oil. If you have a dough hook for your mixer, you can mix in
half the flour. Otherwise, just stir by hand. Once mixed well, add in yeast mixture, then other half of flour until the dough is not sticky (but not too dry).

The actual recipe says to divide the dough into 2 balls and put each ball into a gallon ziploc bag in the refrigerator for 10 hours to 2 days. I've never done that, but you can try it if you'd like. I just let it rise at room temperature for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes -- until it's risen, then punch it down and form into 2 big pizzas (can stretch with hands or roll out with rolling pin). Sometimes I make personal mini-pizzas instead. I let it sit until it looks like it's raising a little bit (maybe 10-15 minutes while I make the sauce), then I add the sauce and toppings. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Quick Pizza Sauce
You can use any pasta sauce, but this homemade sauce tastes like it came from a pizzeria.
1 can (14 oz. or 1 3/4 c.) chopped or diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 T. chopped fresh basil leaves (or 2 t. dried basil)
1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. unrefined sugar

1/2 t. chopped garlic
add salt to taste

I use the hand blender, but you could blend it in a regular blender too.

Pizza Toppings
I don't put cheese on my pizza anymore, but I do for a few of my kids and my husband. For the rest of us, I add a mixture of mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions -- sometimes spinach too.

As for homemade bread -- the recipe I wrote for the pizza crust is my basic bread recipe -- only I form it into loaves at the end. I use Pampered Chef stones for baking 90% of the time. I like to bake bread in their mini-loaf stone that has 4 loaves in one pan. This is the perfect size for slices of homemade bread because it isn't so big that it falls apart. We use it mostly for dinner and toasting (in the mornings and for snacks).

All Wheat Bread
Combine and let rise until foamy:
2 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. honey
1 1/2 T. yeast

Stir into a big bowl:
1/3. c. oil
1 t. salt
2-3 c. wheat flour

Add yeast mixture to wheat mixture; Stir in additional
5-6 c. wheat flour

Cover with damp towel and let rise until double (can let rise in oven at 170 degrees)
Knead a bit, shape into loaves and let rise again for about 20-30 minutes (less time in oven).

Once it's risen the second time, bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes if large loaves, 15-20 minutes for mini-loaves. When it's finished baking, put a damp cloth on top of the bread while it cools and the crust will be much softer and more moist.  Also, I like to put a little butter (I use the non-dairy Earth Balance, but any will do) on top of the crust as it comes out of the oven.   It gives the crust a moister taste).

Tomorrow I'll post my wheat recipes for waffles, pancakes, and sweet breads. I'll eventually get to the cookies and brownies.

Next week, I'll talk more about sprouting and will post my favorite cracker recipes. Super yummy!

Monday, March 24, 2008

An Abundance of Allergies

I've had allergies about as far back as I can remember, well at least as far back as 2nd grade. I remember having the skin on my eye lids flake. I wasn't sure why this would happen. I went to the doctor and he told me it might help not to use finger nail polish or anything with perfume in it. That didn't last long, but it's still a distinct memory. I also remember having watery/itchy eyes and sneezing a lot. I have a class picture of everyone smiling happily into the sunlight. I'm smiling too, but my eyes are as red as can be and I look like it's painful for me to face the sun. I remember that paradox of loving the feeling of the sunshine, but rejecting the pain it was causing my eyes to feel that bright light.

So many of the allergy medications that are over the counter now were my prescriptions growing up - - Actifed, Dimetapp, Benedryl, Sudafed, Afrin nose drops. I can't remember the name of the eye drops I took, but they were in a dark bottle with a dropper and felt WONDERFUL to take.

I remember how groggy I felt when I was on antihistimines, but taking them was a way of life during the spring. When I was 28 years old, I recall listening to the radio and hearing about a new antihistimine that would be released that year called Loratadine, which did not cause drowsiness. That sounded like heaven to me (and was later known under it's brand name, Claritin). I was sad to find out that Claritin wasn't quite tough enough to really make an impact on my allergies, but it was a start.

Later a doctor told me I could take a nasal steroid inhaler much like an asthma inhaler to help my allergies. I took it for a few years and it was helpful. But since it was a steroid and took a few weeks to get into my system to be effective and had to be maintained, it was hard to determine if I still needed it a month or two later. If the allergens were gone and I was still taking it needlessly, I couldn't tell. If I stopped taking it to test it out, and found I still had allergies, it would take another 2 weeks for it to start working again. It wasn't until I heard a report that repeated use of this drug could cause holes in the nasal membrane that I decided to quit using it.

I took my share of asthma medications too. I never had asthma as a child, but developed it when I was in high school. It was mostly allergy induced and we lived amongst grassy fields. Sometimes my mom would drive me into town during the night when I wasn't breathing well and would have me spend the night at my grandma's house. The change in environment would make a difference. Oft times I'd drive home from high school and as soon as I'd get to the "valley" where it was more rural, my air paths would close up. So I took albuterol, steroids, Theodur pills, and drank a lot of ice water trying to sooth my air paths.

This went on throughout my life, except for my college years. I wasn't allergic to Utah. My body seemed to like the desert, even though my heart missed the ocean, the redwood trees and the green lush terrain. I did develop some eczema the last year there though that continued bothering me for another 20 years.

In 1994, we moved to our current spot on the earth where it's misty and green almost year round. It's beautiful and the air is clean and crisp, but we have an allergy season that's not just 3 months out of the year -- it's more like 9 months with a few minor breaks. This was incredibly taxing on my body for several years. There were times when I was pregnant that I wasn't advised to take antihistimines the first few months. I tried herbs, which offered limited relief. I suffered night after night . Nights are always the worst -- for allergies and asthma. I don't know how many times I've gone into the doctor to get help for my asthma and they listen to me breathe and tell me I sound pretty good. I think "You should have seen me last night!"

I could tell you story after story of the severity of it all -- of doctors saying I shouldn't let it get so bad, that it can be life threatening, where I've wondered how I could get my next breath - -or of doctors telling me that the levels of medication I was taking could be eating away at my bone marrow and causing other problems I didn't really want to face. I could tell you about the needle pokes in my arms to determine my allergies and allergy shots for over 3 years. That did nothing but give me swollen shoulder muscles as hard as a golf ball. I remember trying to play my piano lesson with ice on my arm it would burned so bad. Later in life, people told me that allergy shots had improved. Some said nothing had changed -- they worked for some, not for others.

I came to the point of questioning. Did I want to live the rest of my life this way? Did I want to move my family, who seem to love living here? -- (and if so, where? I did internet searches and conducted forum polls on where to live allergy free - - we looked into Utah again, but their air quality has gone downhill since I've lived there and I didn't know what that might do to my asthma since the smog gave me problems while living in L.A.) What if there was some national crisis or even local one and I wasn't able to get any medication for a month or more? Would I be able to function? Would I be able to care for my family? Why would God send us to live dependent upon man-made medication? It just didn't make sense to me.

I decided to see what I could do from the inside out. I decided to experiment with giving up Dairy. I loved milk, ice cream, and cheese, but was willing to give it up if it meant I could live without all the suffering throughout the year. It made a huge difference. Sometimes I'd question if just a little dairy (piece of pizza, just one ice cream cone) would bother me and within the hour, I'd be sneezing, itching, and having throbbing in my nasal cavities. Once I had these symptoms from driving home from Costco with a pizza in the car. Maybe it wasn't the case, but I was convinced that inhaling that fabulous smell for that 1/2 hour caused me problems.

As time passed, going without dairy was helpful, but didn't rid me of my allergies and asthma completely. So I looked into eating raw foods and taking bee pollen. Both were miraculous. I'm not always 100% with raw foods, so the bee pollen is a great supplement to keep me strong and defensive against the allergens. Once I went camping and the bee pollen (which needs to be refrigerated and was in the cooler) became wet and was ruined. So I didn't get to take it on the last day. I was okay because we were about 3 hours from home. But as soon as we drove back into our valley, my asthma acted up and my eyes started itching. I took some bee pollen that night and the next morning. By the next day, my asthma and allergies were gone again.

I'll have to write a whole post about bee pollen. (Edited to add -- I have -- here's the link for my bee pollen post). It's a wonder food and is interesting to learn about. I wondered if I could just go scrape it off of our car windows and eat that instead, but I'm sure there's dust and who knows what else on that - -I'll just go with what I find at the health food store.

One final story -- When I was expecting my last baby, I went through that first trimester w/o antihistimines, having a horrible time with allergies. We'd planned a month-long car trip to the midwest from the California coast. It took me 3 days of driving (or hitting the Wyoming desert) before I could breathe clearly and felt healthy and human again. I enjoyed the rest of our trip - - driving through 9 states and feeling wonderful. As we drove down the mountain towards our home, my ears, eyes, and nose started itching. My nose started to run. My eyes watered. And I realized, I've been all across the country and I'm allergic to where I live! But I've since learned that I can live anywhere I want and be allergy and asthma free. And I don't need to be on ANY medication -- preventative steroids that damage my body or rescue inhalers, antihistimines or herbs. Sure, it might seem like it's not as fun to not eat like I used to eat, but was it any fun to live with allergies my whole life? Not really. This is so much better. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I now have about nutrition and truly feeding my body to be strong. And I seek strength daily so I can bend my will to the truths that I now understand.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

1 Rep Max

1 Rep Max -- that's a common term in body building, so I'm learning. I don't see myself as a body builder by any means. If anything, I lift weights to be strong enough to hold yoga poses better. And I really enjoy lifting weights. So it's a win win for me.

I'm taking it all to "the next level" with a periodization rotation starting on Monday. Cathe Friedrich says that every personal trainer she knows uses periodization with their clients. So it sounds like it must be a good way to progress with fitness. I'm excited to try it.

In order to challenge yourself, you're supposed to calculate your 1 Rep Max which is the weight that challenges your body to just lift once (yet is possible). Instead of picking up really heavy weights that could injure you to try for one repetition, they have you pick a weight that you can lift 10 times that makes you struggle with the final few reps and maybe even stop a rep short. If you can lift easily the whole 10 reps or can even go a few more reps past the 10, it's not heavy enough. If you can't control your form because you're struggling too much, that's too heavy.

Once you get this figure for how heavy you can lift & be challenged with 10 reps, you can use one of three formulas found on Wikipedia to calculate your 1 rep max. There are online calculators that can compute it for you. This one in particular gives a slightly different figure depending on the weight lifting exercise you've done. The best I've found not only shows you the 1 rep max, but also the weight range for lifting for different periodization mesocylces -- muscle endurance (60-70% of 1 rep max), muscle conditioning (70-80% of 1 rep max), and muscle strengthening (80-90% of 1 rep max). I hope I haven't bored you to tears with this, but I'm just learning about it and it's pretty fun to see that there's truly a scientific approach to exercise here (that includes my past love -- math!)

I computed my 1 rep max today for quite a few exercises (all I could think of that are pretty standard for weight workouts).

Here's what I tested. I'll list the barbell poundage first:

Barbell Weight
Squats: 40#
Plie' Squats: 40#
Deadlifts: 40#
Dead Rows: 40#
Leg Press: 30#
Static Lunges: 30#
Chest Press: 40#
Upright Rows: 30#
Overhead Press: 30#
Close Grip Press: 35#
Bicep Curls: 30#

Dumbbell Weight
Rotators: 12#
Crazy Eights: 12#
Hammer Curls: 15#
Tricep Kickbacks: 10#
French Press: 20#
Lateral Raise: 12#
Chest Flies: 15#
Lat Rows: 24#
Rear Delt Raise: 15#
Front Raise*: 7#
Side Raise**: 8#
Lying overhead: 15#
One-arm Triceps: 10#

* I put 7# for this because 8 was just too much by rep 9, but I knew 5#s would be too light

**I'm not sure if my terminology is correct, but I differentiate the lat raise and the side raise with the lat raise having bent arms and side raises as straight arm.

I rarely lift as heavy as Cathe and her cast do in their workouts. I probably go lighter than I could do most of the time and was surprised that I was able to lift as heavy as I did.

Here's what I came up with after calculating the 1 rep max:

40# = 53
35# = 47
30# = 40
24# = 32
20# = 27
15# = 20
12# = 16
10# = 13
8# = 11
7# = 9
5# = 7

So what does this all mean? Here's the fun part because it's really not as complicated as it looks. I thought I'd have to make a chart (which I believe Cathe is going to include with the software for her Shock Training System when it's released), show the weight limits to use for each exercise for each Mesocycle. But I'm seeing with my mathematical eyes that all you do is use the weight you could lift for 10 for the second Mesocycle (or Conditioning workouts w/8-12 reps), go a few pounds lighter for the first Mesocycle (or Endurance workouts w/12-15 reps), and a little heavier for the third Mesocycle (or Strengthening/Building workouts w/ 4-8 reps). The difference between the mesocycle weight differences grow as the weight gets higher, but I think it will be pretty easy to eyeball after awhile.

Let me just leave you with a final example -- if I was able to lift 10 reps with a 10 pound dumbbell, my 1 rep max would be 13 pounds, which is helpful to know what not to lift beyond (or to use for computing the 3 differing mesocycle weights). But if I just eyeball it, I saw the Conditioning workout weight would just be close to the original 10# figure (the calculator said 9-10). The Endurance workout weight would be a little less -- I'd use an 8 pound weight (the calculator said 7-8). And for the Strengthening workout, I'd go a little heavier and use a 12 pound weight (the calculator said 10-12). If the starting weight was a 40 pound barbell, those increments would be greater -- 5 pound ranges within each Mesocycle instead of 2 pounds with the 10 pound weight.

Hope that's easy for you to understand. I'm sure there's a lot of information on this in books and on the internet, but since it's finally clicking for me, I thought I'd share just how it does. I'll let you know how I do next week. I'm sure I'll be sore. I haven't worked out with weights in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thai Baby Coconuts

A few summers ago, I attended a raw food expo in Ft. Bragg. At the end of one of the workshops, there was a question and answer segment. A woman raised her hand and asked, "What would you recommend eating to relieve stress?" The presenter just gave a blank look and didn't know what to answer, kind of shrugged his shoulders, and made some comment about finding a food that you like. I shot up my hand (one of those "I can't resist talking" moments like I had far too often in school) and said, "Baby coconut juice! I drink it in the late afternoon when stress hits -- it's wonderful! I call it my "happy juice!"

Immediately people in the class turned to me and started asking questions about it. I felt kind of bad for stealing the thunder from the instructor, but I was happy to share. Even as I left the class, a few people came up to me to find out how I open the coconut, what I do with the insides, etc. I felt like a whole class should be taught about the coconuts so more could know just how wonderful this food is. I've mentioned before that I'm not the greatest at repeating scientific facts on nutrients and all
that. But I will direct you with some links and hopefully will just encourage you to try it. It's so refreshing!

I've had many a day when my energy plummets, stress hits, or I feel like taking a nap. I'll remember the coconut, break one open, just drink 1/2 of it and I'm not kidding, my energy peaks and I feel so great! I start smiling all over again. It truly is my happy juice. I've read that it is the highest natural
source of electrolytes (which term I only know from Gatorade -- everyone thinks that's the best way to hydrate the body when sweating, hiking, or otherwise depleting, when it's full of artificial ingredients that aren't helpful to the body -- they'd be better off with a bottle of water). I've also read that its composition is comparable to plasma, which is the make-up of our bodies -- so maybe that's why it's so readily appreciated by the body. I don't know. I just know it's wonderfully refreshing.

What's more, it's great to have as a slush too. What I usually do is drink 1/2 of the juice that comes out, then I freeze the other half. If I want it later that day, I pull it out of the freezer at a slushy state. If I don't need it until the next day, I'll let it sit on the counter until it's more slushy. Have you ever had snow ice cream? (That's the photo btw, not the coconut juice slush). The way I used to eat snow ice cream was simple -- bring in the snow and add some maple syrup -- absolutely heavenly. And we didn't get snow often -- maybe once a year, so this was indeed a treat. But this coconut slush is just as good, if not better!

I learned about Thai baby coconuts from Alissa Cohen.
She has a dvd that is a food preparation demonstration (have to say that instead of cooking demonstration, since she never really "cooks" (a little raw foodist joke :)) She talks about the health benefits, then holds the coconut in one hand and hacks at it with a butcher knife (saying that she's done this many times) to show how to open it. Pretty crazy. My style isn't much better, but I don't hold it in my hand. I hold it onto the cutting board so it doesn't move, then try to saw off the top, then use the bottom of the sharp part of the butcher knife to chip away at a hole in the top.

Then I can pour out the coconut water (fits into a 12 oz. mug). I usually cover the top of the coconut at that point with cellophane and put it back into the fridge. My 15 year old daughter loves to scoop them out (it's not a hard center like a brown coconut, more gel-ish), so I let her do it later. They keep for at least a week once opened. Breaking it open is a little harder. I just saw a YouTube video by GreenSmoothieGirl who has her son take the coconut (with hole in top and juice already gone) out to her front sidewalk, where he throws it down at the cement a few times until it breaks open. She says it's the easiest way to do it. I haven't tried it yet, but I have a few sons who would surely be willing to do the same, I'm sure.

Here's a pic of a coconut my daughter scooped clean for me (she looooooves to do that for me -- asks every time). The flesh is in my food processor, ready to make some raw Rocky Road Ice Cream.

Sometimes I have a coconut I've forgotten about in the back of the fridge and can tell it's old by the color of the coconut flesh -- it turns a bit lavendar and the water doesn't taste quite the same, but it's still good and hasn't made me sick from drinking it. I usually throw the flesh away at that point though.

If your grocer doesn't carry the baby coconuts, just ask. I've been able to find them at most health food stores and even at a traditional grocer (WinCo Foods). They're either shrink-wrapped by Melissa's Sweet Young (with a carrot through the logo -- very cute!) or just loose on a produce shelf with other stuff. They're always priced per item (not per pound), so I sort through and find the biggest ones I can. Watch out for mold or not so fresh looking outsides. The white part is supposed to be stringy & sort of fuzzy, but still a bit firm. The health food stores seem to go through them faster, but WinCo's seem to get old at times.
Try one and let me know what you think. They have way more flavor that you'll ever expect. And get ready to smile!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Breakfast Simplicity

When I first read about having fruit for breakfast (in Marilu Henner's Total Health Makeover book) years ago, I thought there was no way I'd be able to do that. That's actually been one of the easiest habits to adopt and has been a joy to do. I've always loved fruit and didn't know how energized it could make me feel. Every once in awhile if I've done a tough weight workout, I may come downstairs wanting something with grains or nuts instead. But most of the time, I reach for the fruit and it's a great start to my day.

My two favorite breakfast fruits are super simple. The first (which I've just discovered this year) is the grapefruit. Call me someone who has to be hit on the head a few times before realizing a good thing, but I never liked grapefruit and only thought it was good for carbonated drinks or Bath & Body lotions. :) But one day my friend was eating a cut grapefruit for a mid-morning snack and I was hungry enough to try it. The first taste was bitter and awful. But I was still hungry (I sound like the Very Hungry Caterpillar). The second taste was a little better. And the third and fourth (good thing she's a close friend) were just wonderful. I was sold. I've been eating up grapefruits ever since.

At first I cut them into circles, but now I just peel them and eat them like an orange. My grandparents used to cut them in 1/2 and eat them out with a dangerous-looking-pokey spoon (probably with sugar on top), but I just like enjoying the simplicity and beauty of the fruit. The more white stuff from the peel on it, the better. It seems to compliment the tanginess just perfectly. And the best thing about it is that it's so completely satisfying and filling. Try it and you won't leave the table wishing you had something else to eat.

My second favorite simple breakfast dish takes a tiny bit more preparation (but not much). I cut up a ripe mango and 2 or 3 kiwi and stir them around in a bowl. That's it. The flavors and textures compliment each other amazingly well. I just love it and everyone I've shared it with loves it too.

I recently attended a women's night where the theme was our "Favorite Things." I think it was a take-off on Oprah's Favorite Things show (which was probably a spin-off of The Sound of Music). Each of us was to bring our favorite thing to share with (and give to) someone else. I couldn't bring a pomegranate because they are no longer in season (and wasn't willing to part with my ceramic one :)), so I brought a mango and a few kiwis in a bag and told everyone how to make it, then drew a name and that lucky person got to take it home. Hopefully it didn't rot in her fridge or anything. I would have eaten it the very next morning! I think she did eat it though. She commented to me as I gave her the fruit that mangoes have a lot of Vitamin A in them. I thought it was funny that I don't even think of the nutritional facts with my favorite real foods. I just trust that they're good for me if they're abundant in nature and relatively untouched by human hands. Yummy and good for me -- how great is that!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Raw Recipes -- Pudding, Pies, & Lara Bar

I think my very favorite raw recipe is Mango Pie. I've probably said that about other raw things, but I truly think it's the Mango Pie because that's the one food that I lick from the bowl to the very last bit every time I make it. It's so easy and wonderful. If you don't have the dates and nuts (or time) for the crust, you just leave out the crust and it's Mango Pudding.

A quick word about mangoes: They need to be ripe to taste wonderful in this recipe (or any time IMHO). If the skin is soft and smooshy like a yoga mat when you touch it, it will be bright orange like the picture, sweet smelling, and ripe (and will be easy to slice through).

Mango Pie
1 c. almonds
1/4 c. dates (soaked)

Blend up almonds and dates in a food processor. Pat them into the bottom of a pie pan. If you'd rather just sprinkle them over the top of the filling afterwards, it tastes just the same :).

4 Mangos
4 Bananas
a few other fruits cut-up (kiwi, bananas, peaches, or strawberries)

Blend up the mangos and bananas in the food processor (or you can blend them in a blender, but you have to add maybe 1/4 c. water first to get it soft enough to blend).

Stir cut fruit into pie filling and then pour into pie pan (or dish that you'll later sprinkle crust on top of).

Eat right away if you'd like. Refrigerate. If you don't eat it within a day, the top may brown a bit (probably due to the bananas), but it still tastes fine.

Mango Pudding
I eat this all the time for breakfast. The recipe is the same as above, only without the crust. Since you use the same amount of mangoes and bananas, you can use any number -- just 1 and 1 for a bowl full or more if you want to serve others or save some. It makes a good smoothie base too. I'll copy and paste the other directions so you have it here and don't have to look above and figure it out :).

4 Mangos (or any number as long as you match it with the bananas)
4 Bananas
a few other fruits cut-up (kiwi, bananas, peaches, or strawberries)

Blend up the mangos and bananas in the food processor (or you can blend them in a blender, but you have to add maybe 1/4 c. water first to get it soft enough to blend -- I tend to use the blender more when I'm just making the pudding because I didn't need to mess up the food processor with the crust ingredients).

Eat up and be sure to lick every last bit!

Apple Pie

2 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. raisins, soaked
1/2 apple

Blend in a food processor and pat into the bottom of a pie pan. If you're just eating raw foods, make sure the sunflower seeds are raw. If you don't mind cooked, you can use regular ones (and it actually tastes better in my little opinion with that toastedness :))

7 apples
8 dates (soaked)
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 t. cinnamon

In a food processor, blend 2 of the apples with the dates until smooth and set aside mixture in another bowl. Blend the other 5 apples into bigger chopped pieces. Add to the date mixture. Add last 3 ingredients. Pour filling into pie crust and let stand for about an hour for the flavors to settle. Refrigerate.

Last time I made this, I wanted to try something different with it after about a day. So I dehydrated the rest into little apple cookies. It was fun to have as a snack, which reminds me............

Homemade Apple Pie Lara Bar
I love the Apple Pie Lara Bars, I mean LOVE them, but at over a dollar a piece (IF they're on sale -- sometimes they're almost $2 each!), they're just too expensive.

So I looked at the ingredients and experimented a bit . They came out pretty close, not necessarily in texture, but definitely in flavor.

1 c. soaked dates
1/2 c. dates (not soaked)
1/2 c. almonds

1/4 c. walnuts

3 apples
2 T. (or 1/8 c.) raisins
2 t. cinnamon

In a food processor, blend up dates until smooth. Add in nuts until they're chopped fine, Add in apples, raisins, and cinnamon. Blend well. You can just form them into balls and keep them in the fridge, but they're kind of wet. I guess you could roll them in cinnamon to dry them a bit. I kept mine in the fridge for about a week, then formed the rest into cookie size pieces and dehydrated them at 108 degrees for several hours. My 8 year old daughter and her friends loved them as much as I did.

Speaking of dehydrating fruits
Every once in awhile when I make a fruit smoothie or pudding, I'll dehydrate some of it for a yummy fruit roll. They never last long, but are wonderful snacks! The only fruit I haven't liked in a fruit roll is kiwi. For some reason it develops this really tangy, awful bite that makes it not all that pleasant. Maybe it ferments or something. I still eat it, but others don't seem to enjoy it and I'd rather have it without.

Rocky Road Pudding

I really should include this in a post all about the wonders of Baby Coconuts (or young coconut or Thai coconut -- white with a pencil shaved top, not the brown furry kind), but I'm going to include it here since I mentioned the Mango Pudding. I developed this recipe because I love to drink the juice from the young coconuts, but don't like the coconut meat all by itself (or even in smoothies -- and I've tried). Many recipes with young coconut meat have a lot of ingredients I don't have, so I made this up for my chocolate-loving self with what I already had.

Scooped out coconut meat from 1 young coconut
1/4 c. dates (soaked)
1/4 c. cacao (or cocoa powder)
1/4 c. almonds
2 T. agave nectar

Blend up in the food processor. Let the almonds stay a little chunky so you get that wonderfully crunchy rocky road flare. If you freeze it, it really does taste like ice cream. I never end up eating as much as I would of regular ice cream -- maybe because it's so rich (and it's more filling with the nuts).

I'll write about baby coconuts next week so you can see you don't need to be afraid to eat them. Yes, they have fat in them, but I've never gained an ounce eating them (in fact, I lose weight whenever I have them in my diet and have wonderfully clear skin, yes, even with the chocolate in it!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chores can be fun!

I know I flip around here from topic to topic, but it's how my mind thinks (and how my life is!) I was just thinking about tomorrow and how I need to get the kids to really help get the house (mainly their bedrooms!) into shape.

Have you ever seen the Pippi Longstocking movie (I actually found it on YouTube if you want to click on it) where she's wearing scrub brushes on her feet and is singing "Scrubbing Day is a holiday!" as she skates across the floor (making a mess of bubbles). That's the spirit of cleaning that makes it fun for our kids. It takes awhile to get to that point sometimes. It takes some creativity. When they were little, it was as easy as singing Barney's, "Clean-up, clean up, every body everywhere. Clean-up, clean-up, every body do your share" which as much enthusiasm as I could muster up in my voice.

Over the years, I've tried all sorts of ways to help make it fun when our kids work. I've learned that variety is key. What may work one week may not work the next. Or a method may stick for years (like a daily one we're doing now).

Here is a handout I wrote up about a year ago for a Women's Conference Sharing Station (table display):

Chores can be FUN!

Really, they can! – for parents and children. Parents need to work WITH their children to teach them how to do the chores and to help motivate them. Here are some fun methods that have worked for us:

Make the job fun – if your child is helping you cook, let him/her wear a special apron to feel important. * Children love jobs that involve a spray bottle. * Play music that you all love to sing along with as you work.

Set up a simple reward system – Use a sticker chart, token jar, anything that motivates and shows their progress. Chore charts on the fridge are great reminders of what they need to do and help give order in the home.

Do what works – If your child likes variety, change the chores they do each day. If he/she likes consistency, let your child do the same chores or clean the same Zone of the house each day.

Let the smaller children pair up with the older children to work side by side.

Field Trip Fun -- Put all the chores that need to be done on bits of paper in a bowl. Tell the children they can all go . . . (to the park, swimming, for a walk, etc.) . . . together when the chores are done. Let each child draw a few chores, then get to work. This shows them how much work it takes to get the house all cleaned up and that you work before you play. * A variation for summer time is to let the children each choose a place to go to every day that week. Write down the places, then have them draw a chore or two for each day – record those too. Each morning, you’ll get up and do the chores, then go on the “field trip.” The best part is you get to come home to a clean house!

Draw names – This is our favorite cleaning activity. You write everyone’s names down 3 times (or more) and keep each family grouping separate. Put the first set in the bowl and have everyone draw a name. Set the buzzer for 15-20 minutes and have everyone disperse throughout the house to clean something for the person they drew. We try to keep it a secret, but it’s okay if a person sees what’s going on. When the buzzer rings, everyone comes back together and tells what they did for their person. It’s a time of sharing and feeling like someone did something wonderful for you. Then you put the second set of names in the bowl and repeat. If you do it 3x, it takes about an hour and you get a TON of work done and feel great for serving that person at the same time.

Make Lists – This is nice for Saturday mornings when you want to get some work done from the start of the day. Give each child a little list with their names at the top and things as simple as “Wake Up,” “Get Dressed,” and “Eat Breakfast” on it so they feel like they are succeeding and progressing from the start. Add a few bedroom chores as well as common room chores everyone can do at the same time. Cross out the chores as you go. My mom used to do this with me and my brothers when we were growing up. I loved checking things off like "Wake Up" and "Get Dressed" -- I felt like I was succeeding from the start!

Guessing Game – This is especially fun for younger children (and teaches them to clean one kind of toy or one area at a time). Ask them to clean one thing or area of their room, then come out and tell you to come look. You come in and try to guess what they just picked up or cleaned. They are so proud when you see the difference. This gives you a chance to tell them how well they did. Then you leave the room and they clean something else. You come back and guess again. This continues until the room is clean.

Make a grab bag – Using inexpensive trinkets (Dollar Store, garage sales), snacks, or even coins, fill up a little bag with surprises. Set the buzzer and have your children clean whatever they want for 10 minutes. When the buzzer rings, they get to show you what they’ve done and then you let them choose something from the grab bag. Set the buzzer again and continue. After doing this several times, they get to eat the snacks and play with what they got. We’ve done this when friends are over playing and they love doing it just as much.

Play Hide & Seek – Hide a toy in one of the rooms that the children are cleaning. Tell them if they find it while cleaning, they can go hide it in someone else’s room. The game can continue while everyone cleans.

Play outside – After chores are done, keep the house clean by encouraging your children to play outside. I tell my children that if they want to keep cleaning, they can stay in the house and do more. If they’d rather play, play outside. Sometimes they surprise me and stay in to clean. Most of the time, they’re ready to play.

Doing chores together is often an ideal time for parents and children to interact. According to researchers, "Chores that can be done with a minimum of concentration leave our minds free to focus on one another as we work together. We can talk, sing, or tell stories as we work. "

Sometimes it's easier for parents to do all the family work themselves than to nag children until they do it. Or we may give children responsibility only for their own things, such as their own rooms or toys.

But researchers have found it's wise to give children work opportunities that require them to do something for others. One study compared children who did "self-care" tasks, such as cleaning up their own rooms, with children who did "family-care" tasks, such as setting the table. The researchers found that children involved in family care tasks learned to be more concerned for others while children involved in self-care tasks only did not.

Since I didn't mention the method we currently use for daily chores, I'll tell you about it. We used to do Zones where our kids would be in charge of an area of the house and then we'd rotate. It worked okay for awhile, but there wasn't a real set time for them to do it and they weren't all that consistent. I tried having them do a morning chore before they left for school and it worked for awhile, but then a busy time would hit (Science Project time, up too late & slept in) and that would slide. We did "Everyone do 1/2 hour of work" when they got home from school before snack and that would work unless they went to a friend's house or had piano lessons or sports or something.

One night (a few years ago, actually -- they've done it well this long!) I told them we'd just have chore time right after family prayer -- the oldest 2 girls would alternate doing the dishes while the other vacuumed downstairs and our oldest son would vacuum upstairs. The younger ones were assigned to pick up toys in their rooms, and straighten up the downstairs bathroom, and put shoes away from the front & back door. This probably was actually my husband's idea because he saw me running around doing much of this late at night every night. We still need weekend chores or projects to keep our house clean and organized, but this is a wonderful thing to always wake up to a clean kitchen and nice vacuumed floor to exercise on each morning.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Update on my Website List

A month ago I wrote a post giving details to my Website List off to the right on my blog. I just realized that I left it barely 1/2 done. So I just wrote a bunch more and ALMOST completed it. I just have one left (and am watching a friend's baby who needs me dearly, so I'll have to finish it later).

I just wanted to let you know so you can see it since it's kind of buried in the archives. More later!

Monday, March 10, 2008

STS -- Cathe's Shock Training System

I know I should be writing more on my big Video Fitness List (and I will). But I'm just a bit antsy to write about something different too.

Cathe Friedrich announced a month or so ago that she's producing a new workout system, the Shock Training System (or STS) that is based on Periodization, where you work on one area of focus (like cardio or muscle endurance) for a period of time (called a Mesocycle), take a brief rest, work the next period on a different focus, rest briefly, then finish up with a different focus. Cathe defines periodization in this way:

"Periodization is simply an organized approach to weight training and exercise that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a workout program during a specific period of time."

She's using a method she's seen work for years in her fitness studio which is Muscle Endurance for the first Mesocycle, Muscle Conditioning for the second Mesocyle, and Muscle Strengthening for the final Mesocycle. It's pretty involved and pretty advanced, I'm sure. She created a forum just to answer questions about it and has a blog chronicling the whole planning and filming process.

I wasn't so sure if I would want to order this at first because it's a three month plus commitment and is quite expensive. But Cathe has provided high quality advanced workouts that I love for years and I wanted to see what her expertise in such a sophisticated system could do for my body. It may be a few more months -- maybe even several before these workouts are finished and released on dvd. When I get mine, I'll be sure to post on here how I'm doing and what the journey is like. I'll be sure to keep up on my yoga as I go. That's a vital component to my fitness as well.

Meanwhile, I've started up a group of Video Fitness women (or VFers as we call ourselves) to do a check-in of an STS-like rotation with the Cathe workouts that we already have. We're going to start on March 24th, which will take us through July 12th (incidently my dh's and my 21st anniversary of first meeting each other :)). I'll let you know how that goes too.

Back to making my list!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fitness Videos Done or "I am the Girl of 100 Lists"

I don't know if you read one of my earliest posts, but I mentioned that I'd once counted all the fitness videos I've ever done (in my head on an airplane headed for filming the Slim Series Express workouts). This was a year and a half ago and I ended up just under 400 (I think it was 394). I'm sure I've surpassed 400 by now (probably did a month later). I've never written them all down, but think it would be a lot of fun to do.

Have you heard the song by The Go-Go's "Girl of 100 Lists?" It's such a fun song with the chorus:

"I am the girl of 100 lists, from what shall I wear to who I have kissed.
Check items off, let nothing be missed, sing I to myself and my 100 lists"

Well, that's what I'm like. I love to make lists, I love to think of my favorites, I love to categorize my thoughts. So I'm going to attempt to list all the videos I've ever done (a few audios too), categorizing them by fitness genre, instructor or set. I've done this on paper a few times when I had more like 100 just to figure out rotations and to get a mental picture of what I had to work with. I'm not sure what my purpose will be on the blog, but perhaps to have a listing of what I've done with stars for my favorites, which may help you decide what you might like (or you can always write if you have more questions about one of them).

This will take me awhile, so you'll see it in the making for a few days (hope you don't mind). I will give 2 stars ** for my favorites. Ones that I like and have kept to do occasionally, but they're not necessarily my favorites will get one star *. The ones I've tried and later got rid of will get no stars. And the ones that stand at the top of my favorites will get 3 stars ***. I've marked it <> if I haven't tried it yet (gulp, the pressure! :))

Yoga / Stretch

Karen Voight – Streamline Fitness (also called AM/PM Streamline or Strong & Streamlined) **
Yoga Sculpt
Sleek Physique (also called Slim Physique)
Yoga Power (has yoga section from Sleek Physique)
Pure & Simple Stretch

Baron Baptiste – Unlocking Athletic Power ***
Core Power **
Soul of Strength ***
Long & Lean Yoga **
Journey Into Power 1 **
Journey Into Power 2 ***
Yoga Bootcamp Box (audio CD) ***

Yoga Journal Great Instructors*
Power & Precision Yoga *

Bryan Kest – Energize **
Tone **
Sweat **
Intensive Body Sculpting
Power Yoga for Weight Loss
Power Yoga 20 Minute Beginner
6 Minute Power Abs
Long, Slow, & Deep (audio)

Erich Schiffman – Yoga Mind & Body ***
Backyard Series – Beginning Yoga **
Backyard Series – Backbends ***
Backyard Series – Inversions *
Backyard Series – Lotus

Tilak Pyle - Altar of the Heart ***
Evening Stress Release (audio) **

Max Strom -- Strength, Grace, & Healing **
Learn to Breathe***

Steve Ross -- Inhale (shows on Oxygen Network) #1-18

Sara Ivanhoe – 20 Minute Makeover Flat Abs
20 Minute Makeover Power Beauty Sweat *
20 Minute Makeover Sculpted Buns & Thighs

20 Minute Makeover Weight Loss
Crunch Fat Burning Yoga *
Crunch Joy of Yoga
Crunch Candlelight Yoga ***
On the Ball Yoga Workout

Kurt Johnson -- American Power Yoga*

Eoin Finn -- Power Yoga for Happiness

FIRM Power Yoga -- Kristen McGee

Kathy Smith -- Wellness Mind & Body Relaxation System*

Ravi Singh / Anna Brett -- Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond
Fat Free Yoga Warrior Workout **
Yoga Bliss Hips
Navel Power
Ultimate Stretch

Evamarie Pilipuf -- Yoga in Nature *

Cyndi Lee -- OM Yoga (audio) <>

Lauren Peterson -- The Yogi Companion (audio) <>

Astrid Kastenberg -- At Home with Astrid yoga (audio)

Yoga Zone -- Conditioning & Stress Release *
Evening Stress Release *
Flexibility & Stress Release
Power Yoga for Strength & Endurance
Yoga Sculpting **
Evening Stress Release*
Music for Meditation (audio) ***
Music for Yoga Practice (audio) ***

Beth Shaw -- Power Yoga Fit

Mark Blanchard -- Progressive Power Yoga Foundation

Quick Fix Total Mix (Yoga sections -- Suzanne Donagan) ***
Quick Fix Power Yoga

Michelle Dozios 10 Minute Solution (Yoga Section) ***

Rainbeau Mars -- Pure Power
Pure Sweat

Gaiam (or Yoga Journal)-- Suzanne Deason -- Gentle Yoga for Beginners *
Yoga for Stress Release ***
Yoga for Weight Loss**

Yoga Kids ***

Patricia Walden -- P.M. Yoga **
Yoga Practice for Beginners
Yoga Practice for Flexibility
Yoga Practice for Relaxation *

Ana Forrest -- The Pleasure of Strength

Shiva Rea -- Prenatal Yoga

Cathe Friedrich -- Stretch Max *
Total Body Stretching*

Debbie Siebers -- Cool It Off *
Slim and Limber **
Cool It Off Express ***

Madeleine Lewis -- AM/PM Stretch *

Wow, if I've counted correctly, that's 100 just for yoga! I'll be posting the cardio, weight, and Pilates workouts I've done soon. TTFN!

Continuing onward.........with Pilates. I don't think I've done nearly as many as with yoga, but we will see. I'm guessing about 1/3 or 1/2.

Ana Caban -- Pilates Beginning Mat Workout (originally by Living Arts) *
Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout ***
Cardio Pilates (I like it skipping the cardio)**
Energy Boost Pilates
Pilates for Abs ***
Maintenance Pilates for Weight Loss ***
Pilates Body Band Challenge **
Pilates Body Band Kit *
PM Pilates **

Niedra Gabriel -- Fit Chic Fashion Your Body w/Pilates ***

Dana Leigh -- Power Pilates ***

Lizbeth Garcia -- On the Ball Pilates

Jennifer Kries -- Perfect Mix *

Hilary Burnett -- Mind Body Mat Pilates Basics ***
Mind Body Mat Pilates Intermediate ***
Mind Body Mat Pilates Advanced **
Zen Stretch * (*** to watch, but crazy hard)

Mari Winsor -- Advanced Body Slimming
Accelerated Body Sculpting
Bun & Thigh Sculpting
Maximum Burn Super Sculpting & Body Slimming

Lara Hudson -- 10 Minute Solution Pilates

Grace Lazenby -- All the Right Moves

Jillian Hessel -- A.M. Pilates

Kari Anderson -- Angles, Lines, & Curves *
Angles, Lines, and Curves II *

Karen Voight -- Pilates Total Body Training
Pilates Abs & Back

Kathy Smith -- Pilates for Abs
Pilates for Lower Body *

Ellen Barrett -- Pick Your Spot Pilates ***
Burn & Firm Pilates
Fat Burning Pilates
Super Slim Down Pilates Yoga Blend *

Denise Austin -- Mat Workout J.H. Pilates

Michelle Dozios -- 10 Minute Solution (Pilates section) ***
Breakthru Core Conditioning Pilates
Breakthru Pilates Plus
Prevention Flatten Your Belly w/Pilates

Quick Fix Perfect Mix (Pilates part -- Tracy York)
Quick Fix Pilates Abs (Kelly Roberts) **

Suzanne Deason -- Pilates Conditioning for Weight Loss *

Rael Isacowitz -- Rael System 17
Rael System 27*

Romana Kryzanowka -- Romana's Optimum Weight Management*
Powerhour Mat Workout *
Introduction to Pilates Mat
Mat Challenge **

Moira Stott Merrithew -- Stott Pilates Core Challenge

Brooke Siler -- Pilates Body Box (audio & cards)***
The Pilates Body (book)*** (I had to mention it because I use it for Pilates sessions too)

That's 51 -- I guess my 1/2 yoga guess was closer than a third. I haven't kept nearly as many Pilates dvds as I have Yoga though. I'm picky about my yoga, but even pickier with Pilates.

More another day............

4/1/08 -- Sorry this has taken me so long to get back to. Funny that it takes so long to write when I was able to add them all up in my head within maybe 20 minutes on the plane that day. Although airplane time is hard to measure when you have so MUCH of it :).

So now I'll count cardio/weights/circuits. I don't know if I can split them up because it will be easier to group them by instructors (who many times do all 3). Since I guessed on the Pilates, I'll make a guess on these too -- I'm thinking I've done 250? Crazy to think of that many, but if I truly got to about 400 before, that's what it should be.

Denise Austin -- Bounce Back After Baby **
Hit the Spot Fat Burning Blast ***
Hit the Spot Abs*
Hit the Spot Sizzler ***
Pilates Matwork based on J.H. Pilates
Power Kickboxing
Ultimate Fat Burner *
Power Yoga Plus

Donna Richardson -- Donna-Mite***
Step & Awesome Abs *
3 Day Rotation **
Sweating in the Spirit (1)
Brazilian Workout
Old School Dance Party

Kathy Smith -- Fat Burning Breakthrough *
Functionally Fit: Peak Fat Burning ***
Kickboxing Workout
March to Fitness **
Shaper Ball Worktout
Timesaver Cardio Fat Burner ***
Pregnancy Workout *
Step Workout

Debbie Siebers: Burn It Up ***
Shape It Up ***
Tone It Up ***
Tear It Up **
Firm It Up **
Mix It Up **
Cardio Sculpt *** :)
Cardio Core ***
6 Minute Abs **

Kari Anderson: Body Tech*
Dance Works
Hot Steps
(I do love Kari -- I just get lost w/her cardio)

Amy Bento -- Kickbox Extreme **

Cindy Crawford / Radu -- Shape Your Body **
The Next Challenge ***

Billy Blanks -- Tae Bo Original Basic **
Tae Bo II Get Ripped Basic
Tae Bo Get Ripped 8 minute **
Tae Bo II Get Ripped Advanced *
Tae Bo Gold *
Tae Bo Junior **
Tae Bo Live Advanced Live 4 **
Tae Bo Live Basics 1-8, 12 *

Chalene Johnson -- Turbo Jam Cardio Party *
Turbo Jam Cardio Party 2 *
Turbo Jam Cardio Party Remix *
Turbo Jam Fat Blaster *
Turbo Jam Kickin Core *
Turbo Kick (several older rounds, my favorites being 19, 21, & 22)

Tony Horton -- P90X+ Total Body Plus

Kendall Hogan -- Crunch Fat Blaster -- The Next Step

Joyce Vedral -- Fast Forward Series 1-3 *

Gay Gasper -- Step-n-Stones

Burr Leonard -- The Bar Method -- Designer Sculpting
The Bar Method -- Fat Free

Gunnar Peterson -- Core Secrets 25 Minute Full Body Workout **
Core Secrets Ab Assault *
Core Secrets Accelerated Core Training
Core Secrets Bun Battle **
Core Secrets Full Body Challenge *
Core Secrets Give Me 20

Leslie Sansone -- 1-2-3 Mile Walk

Janis Saffel -- CIA 9907 Kick-It
Ringside Kick-It
Hardcore Kickbox Circuit (w/Guiellermo Gomez) **

Guiellermo Gomez -- Kickbox Underground **

Mindy Mylrea -- CIA 2K02 Slammin Sports Cardio
CIA 2301 Awesome Strength
Sara's City Jump & Jab

Kristin Kagen -- Step This Way

Wendilee Lassiter -- One of her weight lifting dvds

Minna Lessig -- Emergency Workout
Fat Eliminator
Strength & Grace *

Madeliene Lewis -- Buns of Steel Pregnancy Workout *

Rob Glick -- CIA 2302 Amazing Step Styles ***
Hi/Lo Fusion
Cardio, Core, & Calm
Bosu Cardio Fusion

Silk Manning -- Aero Pump/Kick ***

Keli Roberts -- CIA 2303 Step It Strong **
Quick Fix Stability Ball **

Seasun Zieger -- CIA 2304 Rock Steady Step

Kimberly Spreen -- CIA 2505 Kickbox Bootcamp

Box 'n' Flow

WHFN (Women's Health & Fitness Network) Push/Pull
WHFN Fast Cheetah *

WHFN Fitprime FlexPosture (Tamela Hastie) *
WHFN Crunch Time (Tamela Hastie) *
WHFN Floor Burn (Tamela Hastie) *
WHFN Steamin Cardio (Heidi Tanner)
WHFN Strong Bear (Keli Roberts)

Tracie Long Training (TLT)
TLT Better Burn Better Buns (Tracie Long) *
TLT Endurance for Movement (Tracie Long) *
TLT Finding Your Core (Susan Harris) *
TLT Strengthen In Movement (Jen Carmen) *
TLP Core Foundations (Jeanne Ann Copleston) ***
TLP Dynamic Strength & Power (Cindy Thorp) *
TLP Functional Strength (Bonnie Geer) ***
TLP Functional Foundations - Core Cardio *
TLP Functional Foundations - Core Strength ***
TLP Nitty Gritty & the Whole Shebang *

Donna Read -- CIA 9903 Bootcamp plus Step & Stretch

Corey Everson -- Step N Time

Jane Fonda -- Complete Workout

Christi Taylor -- Step Heaven

The FIRM -- Vol. 1 Body Sculpting Basics (Susan Harris) *
Vol. 2 Low Impact Aerobics (Janet Jones-Gretzky) *
Vol. 3 Aerobic Interval Training (Sandahl Bergman)
Vol. 4 Time Crunch Workout (Susan Harris/Kai Soremekun) **
Vol. 5 Abs, Hips, & Thighs (La Reine Chabut) **
Vol. 6 Complete Aerobic Weight Training (Jayne Poteet) ***
Firm Basics: Abs, Buns & Thighs (Stacy Milner-Collins) *
Firm Basics: Fat Burning (Stacy Milner Collins & Jen Carmen) **
Firm Basics: Sculpting w/Weights (Tracie Long) ***
Cardio Burn (Tamela Hastie) **
Power Cardio (Dale Brabham) ***
Cardio Split 1 (various) ***
Cross Trainers -- Tortoise (Tracie Long) **
Cross Trainers -- Hare (Tracie Long) *
Cross Trainers -- Firm Strength (Pam Cauthen) **
Cross Trainers -- Firm Cardio (Heidi Tanner) **
Total Body Shaping Mix (various) ***
FIRM Parts 5 Day Abs *
FIRM Parts More 5 Day Abs *
FIRM Parts Boot Camp *
FIRM Parts Cardio Step Mix *
FIRM Parts Upper Body *
FIRM Parts Standing Legs ***
FIRM Parts Floor Legs *
FIRM Parts Lower Body Split
FIRM Parts Upper Body Split
FIRM Parts Tough Cardio Mix *
FIRM Parts Tough Aerobic Mix *
FIRM Parts Tough Tape (Tracie Long) ***
FIRM Parts Tough Tape II *
FIRM Parts Not So Tough Aerobic Mix ***
FIRM Parts Sculpted Buns & Thighs (Tracie Long) **
Prime Power Fat Burning (Stacy Milner Collins)
Prime Power Lower Body (Stacy Milner Collins)
Super Cardio ***
Super Sculpt
Tri-Trainers Fat Blaster (Ali Del Rio) ***
Tri-Trainers Maximum Body Sculpting (Tracie Long) ***
Tri-Trainers Better Body & Buns **
Maximum Cardio (Carissa Foster) ***
Body Sculpting System 1 (BSS1) -- Ab Sculpt (LIsa Kay)
BSS1 Body Sculpt (Jen Carmen) **
BSS1 Cardio Sculpt (Ali Del Rio) *
BSS2 Complete Aerobics & Weight Training (Emily Welsh) **
BSS2 Maximum Cardio Burn (Ali Del Rio) **
BSS2 Total Sculpt + Abs (Jen Carmen) *
BSS2 Calorie Killer (Nancy Tucker) *
BSS2 Upper Body Sculpt (Janet Brooks)
BSS3 Fat Blasting Cardio (Lisa Kay)
BSS3 Total Muscle Shaping (Stephanie Huckabee)
BSS3 Complete Body Sculpting (Christa Riley) *
BSS3 Express Total Body Shaping (Pam Cauthen Meriwether)
Firm 6 Pack -- Body Sculpt Blaster
(Nancy Tucker) *
Cardio Sculpt Blaster (Lisa Kay) *
Lower Body Sculpt (Libby Heath)
Super Body Sculpt (Stephanie Huckabee)
Super Cardio Sculpt (Nancy Tucker) *
Firm Bootcamp Maximum Calorie Burn (Allison Davis)*

FitPrime -- Core First (Carissa Foster) **
Crunch Time (Susan Harris) *
Fast Cheetah (Tracie Long)
Floor Burn (Susan Harris) *
From the Ground Up (Heidi Tanner)
G-Force (Tracie Long) ***
Steamin Cardio (Kelsie Daniels) *
Strong Bear (Tracie Long) *
Up and Down (Jeanne Ann Copleston) *
Weights First (Tracie Long) **

Cathe Friedrich -- Basic Step & Body Fusion **
Body Blast Series:
__Step Blast ***
__Step Pump & Jump ***
__Kick Punch & Crunch ***
__Legs & Glutes ***
__Super Sets ***
__Push/Pull **
Body Max **
Body Max 2 **
Intensity Series:
__Boot Camp ***
__Muscle Endurance ***
__IMAX2 ***
__Cardio & Weights ***
__Pyramid Lower Body ***
__Pyramid Upper Body
Butts & Guts *
Cardio Kicks **
Circuit Max **
Cross Train Express (CTX) Series:
__Step & Intervals ***
__Kickbox **
__10-10-10 **
__All Step **
__Power Circuit ***
__Leaner Legs *
Upper Body ***
4 Day Split Series:
__Lower Intensity Step ***
__Higher Intensity Step ***
__Cardio Kickbox + Heavy Weights **
__Bootcamp + Heavy Weights **
Hardcore Series:
__Core Max *
__Low Max **
__Muscle Max ***
__Gym Style Legs ***
__Gym Style Chest & Triceps ***
__Gym Style Biceps, Back & Shoulders ***
__High Step Challenge
__Hardcore Extreme
High Step Circuit *
High Step Training
Interval Max
Low Impact Circuit ***
Low Impact Step plus Total Body Sculpting **
Maximum Intensity Cardio *
Maximum Intensity Strength **
Power Hour ***
Power Max*
Pure Strength Strong Legs & Abs *
Pure Strength Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps **
Pure Strength Back, Biceps, Abs *
Rhythmic Step ***
Slow & Heavy Legs & Shoulders **
S&H Chest & Back **
S&H Biceps & Triceps **
Step Jam *
Step Heat *
Step Max*
Step Works **
Terminator ***

Michelle Dozios -- 7 Day Solution
Breakthru Body Blast *
Breakthru Cardio Dance *
Breakthru Cardio Step *
Prevention Walk Your Way Slim

Karen Voight -- BLT on the Ball
Cardio/Strength Circuit Training
Energy Sprint
Sleek Physique *
Streamline Fitness ***
Strong & Smooth Moves
Your Personal Best w/ Elle MacPherson ***

Trish Muse -- Body Management *

Suzanne Deason -- Living Arts Balance Ball Lower Body/Upper Body/Abs

Cardio Coach -- Sean O'Malley (audio CDs -- volumes 3-6) ***

Cardiolates (Rebounding part) -- Katherine & Kimberly Corp **

Hip Hop Abs -- Sean T
Fat Burning Cardio *
Ab Sculpt
Total Body Burn
Hips, Buns, & Thighs **
Last Minute Abs ***
Fat Burning Cardio 2 **
Total Body Burn 2
Ab Sculpt 2

I think that's it! It was a lot harder than I'd thought because when I counted in my mind, I could say "those 6 FIRMs" or "that first step workout I tried of Denise Austin's" -- having a picture in my mind, but not a name or exact title. This way I had to find each title and account for it somehow. Fun to do though. I did have to hold back and refrain from explaining why I hadn't tried very many videos from certain (very popular) instructors like Christi Taylor, Amy Bento, or Jari Love (I've only previewed hers). But I'll have to save that discussion for another day. In fact there are many that I've previewed (like P90X) and decided it wasn't for me without even trying it. Sometimes I misjudge in a preview though. When I first previewed the Slim Series, I thought the music would really bore me because it's super mellow and repetative, but I just love it. It's never been a problem for me. I'm sure I'll tell you much more as time goes on -- like what the Cardio Coach CDs are like. They're a vital addition to my video collection.

I do want to clarify before I close this post that even though I've done or tried all of these workouts, I don't still have them all. I like to trade or sell them if I don't think I'll use them much or ever again. There are a few that I hold onto for sentimental reasons. And some I keep that are more basic or lighter than what I do anymore in case I have a friend who asks me where to start. Some I keep for my kids do to (my kids loved Tae Bo Junior and March to Fitness).

Also, when I ranked them with the stars, I found that some older workouts may have been favorites for me if I'd tried them in their prime, but some were so outdated by the time I did them (or had many newer options by the same instructor) that I liked them, but never did them enough to love them.

Time to tally them up! (Drum roll.....................)

276 cardio/weights + 100 yoga/stretch + 51 Pilates = 427 . . . WOW!