Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kelly Coffey-Meyer's Home Gym Intervals

If you haven't heard about Kelly Coffey-Meyer's 30 Minutes to Fitness workouts, let me be the one to tell you!

Kelly is a fitness trainer/instructor in New Jersey and is the owner and creator of a series of tough 30 minute workouts that are outstanding!  (Would I be telling you about them if they weren't?)  Kelly started this dvd series about 5 years ago and has 22 as of yesterday (well, that's when I received her latest two in the mail).

Her most recent are Home Gym Intervals and Muscle Up.  I was excited to try each of them, but opted for Home Gym Intervals first this morning because I have a spin bike and a treadmill and the idea of getting to break up the gym equipment cardio with weight circuits sounded great!

I don't think I've been on my treadmill since last summer.  It's lost its appeal for me.  I have, however, been riding my spin bike 2 or 3x a week lately to try to build up my leg strength and it's tough!  The idea of getting breaks after each minute and a half sounded like heaven!

Each 30 Minutes to Fitness dvd comes with two 30 minute workouts.  There are premixes that allow for variety, including combining the 2 workouts (without having to do double warm-ups and cool-downs).  I thought of doing the whole thing today (mainly out of curiosity), but I needed to get my son to school 45 minutes from when I was starting, so I decided to do Workout 1 and call it good. Besides, it's a challenging, metabolic boosting workout all on its own.  No guilt in "just" doing one of the workouts!

You can watch Kelly's video clip below to get a glimpse of what the workout is like, but I want to tell you my impressions, too!

Oh, before I tell you some specifics, I have to tell you that I loved Workout 1 so much, that I wanted to try more!  When I got back from taking my son to school, I thought I'd try out the 10 Minute Waistline Bonus (after all, there were ZERO crunches -- I'd previewed it a bit as I was putting away my weights earlier), so I figured I could fit 10 minutes in.  Well, the ab work was so unique (mostly standing, some plank work) and amazing that I got the urge to try out Workout 2 after all.  But I didn't know if I could have the muscle endurance to get back on that spin bike again.  Maybe I could have, but what were my other options?  Oh, the treadmill . . . eh?  Didn't know if my excitement were up enough to pull that out from behind the big chair.  THEN I remembered that I have my rebounder!  Not technically a fitness machine, but it IS a piece of home gym equipment used for cardio.  That could work!

In each 30 minute workout, Kelly has you warm-up on the home gym equipment of your choice.  I guess if you had more than one in the room, you could switch around, but I just got on my spin bike (which I bought myself for Mother's Day last year) for Workout 1.  I really LOVE how great of a workout the spin bike gives me and how I feel like I'm running with resistance when I ride standing, -- tough stuff!  (Cathe in Xtrain Ride telling us that spinning it's not a cakewalk comes to mind often!   )  

Back to Home Gym Intervals, I really loved that Kelly explains from the start that we only have 30 minutes and to make the most of it.  Don't take breaks unless you really need to.  Keep going!  It felt like Kelly was my personal trainer because during the cardio intervals, she didn't have as much cuing to do as she usually does, so she could motivate me to work hard ("not hardly work" )  The warm-up is longer than the cardio segments (just ran and timed it -- a little over 5 ½ minutes long).  The warm-up is long enough to gradually get your heart-rate up and to prepare your muscles to work.

The weight work is fantastic!  Most of the weight work are innovative compound exercises using dumbbells that work upper and lower body together and/or multiple muscle groups.  I've literally done hundreds of fitness dvds and with the exception of push-ups and the triceps work, the weight exercises were in combinations I'd never done before and had a functional fitness / metabolic training feel to them (which I love!) Every once in awhile we'd just work one side with weights, get back on the cardio equipment, then do the other side after.  The weight intervals are only about a minute long each, which seemed to fly!

In fact, the cardio intervals went by so quickly, too!  Once I realized that, I wasn't afraid to work hard and then think I wouldn't be able to maintain it, because it was only 90 seconds!  There are 8 cardio/weight intervals in all (plus nice warm-up and cool-down).  Lots of variety, for sure.

The only big difference overall between Workout 1 and 2 was that Workout 1 just used 1 dumbbell for each strength training movement. Workout 2 used a pair of dumbbells.  So that was fun to have that variety in the approach.  But the over all feel was the same.  It would blend well for the combined workout pre-mix.  You'll need at least one set of dumbbells for the weight work.  Kelly used 10s and 12s, I believe.  And the crew in the back used either 8s or 12s.  I used 10s most of the time; some moves with 8s, and 5s for the rear fly's (shoulder issue).

Doing Workout 2 on the rebounder was a ton of fun!  I did a variety of jacks and plyo jumps and a ton of running.  My heart-rate was up plenty! (I have the Reboundair like the pic to the right, but I can't vouch for that claim about jogging).

I have a feeling that I'll dust off that treadmill the next time I do Home Gym Intervals though.  Kelly is so light-footed on hers, that she skips (as in skipping as a child -- so cute!) and does side shuffles from time to time.  I want to learn to do that!  I'll be sure to follow her direction to hold onto the sides when doing it, so I can be safe.  Be sure you do, too!

Kelly ends each workout with a nice soothing cool-down (each workout has it's own -- nice to know the stretches are tailored for the muscles you just worked and are about 3 minutes long).  Kelly gives you plenty of motivation (with a bit of humor at times) up until the end.  Her crew, Samantha, Lori, and Marcus are stellar, too.  I've seen them in other 30 Minutes to Fitness workouts.  I can always sense the bond they all have with Kelly (as well as their expertise with fitness). Marcus rode a spin bike, Sam was on a treadmill like Kelly (but took it at a slower pace), and Lori was on the elliptical.  I can't wait to see what Muscle Up is like tomorrow!  TTFN!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What Yoga Means to Me

I just completed my final workshop for my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Mark Stephens at Santa Cruz Yoga Center.  My heart is a bit heavy because I'm sad to see it end.  Of course, I realize this is actually a beginning, but we've grown to love and enjoy everyone in our group. Our class had 20 students and we all went through the first 100 hours together in January and February.  And we have pretty much all been around the additional workshops for the past 3 months.  Some students have had illness or work ventures take them away, but we've kept those bonds going somehow, as well.

I remember Mark saying to us as we sat on our mats that first day something like, "Look around the room.  You will become close friends as you embark on this path of teacher training together."  I thought to myself, "How is that so?"  And then I watched it happen -- pretty quickly actually.

One of our Midterm questions was  "What to you does it mean to do yoga?"

I want to share my response with you.  As you might be able to tell from the title of my blog and many of my past posts, I love a variety of approaches to physical fitness.  But yoga has reached in and touched me more deeply inside.  For that reason, I've loved teaching it and have longed to share it with others.
For me, to do yoga is to explore my body and my mind simultaneously.   There are many forms of exercise that I love, but none of them resonate with me beyond the practice like yoga does.  When I do yoga, I am able to release my mind throughout the asanas (postures) and through the breath. I am able to explore where my mind tends to go and either redirect or or loosen it.  This is quite a freeing experience for me and I always enjoy it.  It separates me from my usual day and my usual thought patterns.  At the same time, I am able to find postures that challenge me, make me push myself in ways that I don’t always welcome, and discover that I can do more than I realize.  I also find much pleasure in the release of postures that increase flexibility, especially in seated hip openers and back bends.  And I find joy and peace when I allow all of the postures to resonate in my body in that blissful final resting pose.
But after the yoga practice has come and gone, yoga extends beyond the mat for me.  I learn lessons through each experience on the mat that I carry with me throughout the day.  I learn to let go when I might normally hang onto tension or unfruitful thoughts.  I am able to step away from my thoughts to explore what is happening before I continue to react.  I am able to slow my breathing and enjoy the moments of each day much more.
I know that many see yoga as a stretching practice and that's part of it.  But there's much more.  If you haven't clicked with yoga in the past, try another class with a different teacher or try one of the many dvds that I love. You may just find it blessing your life for many years to come.

P.S.  (I'll give a larger list of yoga dvds another day, but here are some past posts of some of my favorite yoga dvds:  Altar of the Heart with Tilak Pyle, Inhale with Steve Ross, Timesaver yoga dvds, and a quick mentioning of several favorite yoga dvds).

Photos by Suzie's Farm Creative Commons

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How to restore photos on Blogger if you get a Grey Circle with a Dash and the photos are missing

I just came on to blog today and found 1/2 of my pictures missing!   There was a grey circle with a dash through the center of many if not MOST of my pictures.  I Googled to find a solution and found that when I signed up with Google+ a few weeks ago to buy more storage for my pictures, for some reason, they threw tons of them in my trash!!  Why?  I'm not sure.  But thankfully, I caught this quickly.

The trash stays put for 60 days and I was able to restore them all. But just in case this happens to you, go into Picasa (a part of Google+ which houses your Blogger pics, even if you didn't know they did) or into Google+ and do the following:

Restore a photo from Trash
Photos and videos you move to trash in Google+ are stored for a short period of time before they are permanently deleted. If you move an item to trash, and later want to retrieve it, you can do so by following these instructions:
  1. Open Google+. Place your cursor over the Google+ Home menu near the top left corner.
  2. Select  Photos from the Google+ navigation menu.
  3. Click More > Trash.
  4. Place your cursor over the photos you want to restore > click the  checkboxes to select them.
  5. Choose Restore. Your photos will be restored to the same album(s) they were in before they were deleted.
If you have a ton of photos in a photo, you can just click "SELECT" at the top of the folder and it will check all photos in that folder and then you can restore them.
I'll have to finish my post on eating tomorrow, but I just thought I'd let you know if any of you have this problem. So glad to have my photos back!!