Tonight was the last scheduled Biggest Loser group workout.  We only had about 20 people in attendance.  It’s sad how we can start out with a group of 50+ and end up the series with less than half.

We had 3 regular trainers, a new trainer and Rich all there to motivate us and keep us going.  Fortunately or unfortunately, there was lots of people to yell at us and correct our form and help us maximize our workout.

This morning I took the water aerobics class.  This afternoon, neither kid napped.  So, I was pretty tired when I arrived for the 6PM workout.

For almost an hour, we did a series of 1 minute exercises.  Our breaks were usually long enough for one of the trainers to describe and demonstrate the next move.  The great thing about all of the exercises was that we didn’t need any special equipment.

Our drills included things like:

  • burpees
  • pushups
  • wall sits
  • triceps dips
  • knee lifts
  • jumping jack squats
  • squats
  • step ups
  • walking lunges
  • planks
  • side planks
  • oblique twists

There were many more, but it’s not possible to remember all of them at the moment.  I liked that we kind of had a few circuits.  We had a cardio set, a set that used the bleachers/steps, a set that used the mats, an active cool down and then some stretching.

The workout was well planned out.  I’m beat.


Yesterday, my partner in crime and I had our weekly session with our trainer, Jen.  She’s been doing such a good job of challenging us both even though our fitness levels are different.  Thursday was no exception.

I only ended up with a 5 minute warm up on the elliptical before it was time to meet.  That was just fine.  Some days between the dishes, breakfast and getting the kids ready to get out the door, I feel like I ran a marathon before I ever get to the gym.  So, while a proper warm up is nice, I don’t ever really get to the gym cold.

Circuit #1

  • Straight Arm Lat. Pulldown 50lb x 20
  • Seated Lat. Pulldown 60lb x 20ea (wide and narrow grip)
  • Cable Tricep Pulldown (regular) 60lb x 15
  • 50lb x 12
  • 40lb x 10
  • 30lb x 8
  • 20lb x 6
  • Cable Tricep Pulldown (overhead) 50lb x 15
  • 40lb x 12
  • 30lb x 10
  • 20lb x 8
  • Jacknives w/ Ball x 15

My arms were jelly after this first circuit for the upper body.  I was definitely fatigued to failure on a couple of the exercises.  Sometimes, I forget to count the reps.  I just keep doing them until it’s really hard and then do my best to do  one or two more.

Circuit #2

  • Overhead Squat x/ Stick x 30
  • Curtsy Lunges x 20ea.
  • Sled Leg Press x 5 of 10 (feet hip width, plie, feet to left and right, feet on top)
  • Prone Leg Curl x 2 of 12
  • Punching Back Ext. 5lb x 6 punches x 10

My lunges are getting better.  I’m finding my balance has improved and my depth is greater as well.  This was my first time on the sled leg press.  I really liked it.  I definitely felt the stretching in my hammies and glutes. It was also my first time on the prone leg curl.  I loved the fact that I could actually lay on my front and do the exercise.  Keep in mind that I didn’t have weight on either machine, but I was still very happy with the activity.  I can’t wait to do them again.

At the end of the workout, we took about 5 minutes to stretch.  An hour still feels like a really long time to do strength training, but I am getting used to it.  I’ve really been enjoying these sessions.  Today, I can tell that I worked out, but nothing is killing me.  I woke up stiff, but felt much better after playing in the water with Sally.

 Posted by at 4:17 PM

With the start of the lifeguarding class just a couple of weeks away, I decided a few swim lessons were in order.  I want to get my strokes up to speed and practice the prerequisites so I don’t make a fool out of myself during the class.

My first lesson was yesterday.  My instructor’s name is Tabitha and she is AWESOME.  My first task was to swim a few yards of the freestyle stroke.  She told me that my stroke wasn’t bad.  Then, we discussed my stroke and she gave me some tips/suggestions/reminders.


  • breathe out of my nose
  • alternate sides for breathing
  • kick from the hip
  • bring my feet up more toward the surface of the water
  • make sure my elbows are getting out of the water

Even after just a few minutes of practice, my stroke was so much more smooth and efficient.  I’m excited to practice and get better at the stroke.

Next up was the breast stroke.  This segment was hilarious because I barely remembered the breast stroke.  I really need to work on this stroke.  My kick was so bad that I was going backwards while I demonstrated it!  After some trial and error, I was able to do the stroke a little bit, but I really need to work on it.

We touched briefly on the elementary backstroke, which I can do just fine and the backstroke, which I didn’t remember doing before.

All in all, I was super happy with the progress that I made in just 30 minutes.  I can’t wait for some pool time so I can practice before my next lesson.

Next week, we’re going to spend most of the time on lifeguarding skills.  I really want to nail all of the prerequisites.  Hopefully, we’ll have time to work on the strokes during that lesson as well.


Today was our 7th group workout for the Biggest Loser contest at the J.  It was a yoga class!  I have never taken a yoga class.  It’s been on my to do list for many years.  Today turned out to be a great day to try yoga.  There were about 30 people in the class and at least 10 were brand new.

Eileen was our instructor and she did a pretty good job of explaining things to the newbies.  I had the most trouble with poses that involved putting all of my weight on my left knee.  But, I was amazed at home many poses I could do.  I at least attempted everything and I think I could get good at some of the poses and stances with some practice.  I was already a bit worn out from swimming yesterday and today.  Also, I’m feeling my strokes in my neck and arms, so that made some of the yoga even more challenging.

I’m sure we just scratched the tip of the iceberg during the class.  I’m sure there are many more poses and more terminology to come.  I’m not sure that I’ll be adding yoga to my repertoire soon, but at least the ice is broken and I think I could be comfortable walking into a class at the J.

I can definitely see the appeal.  But, the jury is still out on whether it will be for me.

 Posted by at 9:06 PM  Tagged with:

When I was little, my family went to the local Knights of Columbus swim park.  It had a lake for swimming and wasn’t too far from home.  We’d go up there after dinner many nights a week during the summer.

At some point, my sister and I took swim lessons.  I took all of the classes.  I was 11 when I took the last class before lifeguarding.  Lifeguarding wasn’t available until you were 15 years old.  Ever since I was not old enough for the class, I’ve wanted to have a lifeguard certification.  I thought about it in college where the class would have counted for my physical education requirement, but it just never happened.

Let’s fast forward to last week.  While at the JCC, I saw the flyer that a lifeguarding class would be offered starting at the beginning of March.  Since I know the pool manager fairly well, I expressed some interest and trepidation about taking the class.  He was very encouraging.  I’ve reviewed the list of pre-requisites and have a couple of weeks to practice and get up to speed.  It’s been years since I have done any serious swimming.

Today, I began my quest.  I swam 300 years before my water aerobics class.  That equates to 12 lengths or 6 laps.  I did stop and take a couple of breaks, but I am confident that I can do it continuously when necessary for the test.

The next task is to be able to tread water for 2 minutes.  After taking Adam’s class last week, I am sure this one is no problem.  We played  basketball in the deep end without touching the bottom.  It was a lot longer than 2 minutes.  So, I suspect that won’t be a problem.

There is also a timed event where you swim from one end of the pool to the other, dive and get a brick and swim on your back to the starting end.  I’m going to practice this, but I suspect I’ll pass.

The last requisite is to be 15 years old by the end of the class.  I have that one covered by more than 25 years!

I’ll have much more to say as I continue the process.  For now, I’m happy to have a goal that is swimming related.


Stephen works for a company that has a wellness program.  I think that 2012 is the 3rd year for the program.  Each year has been significantly different than the prior one.  I believe the company is still trying to figure out the best approach.  In my opinion, the overall goal is to motivate the employees (and spouses) to live healthier lives.  This reduces the cost of healthcare and should be a win win.

Part of the plan includes monetary incentives for participating in different parts of the program.  This year, we have something new call Virgin Health Miles.  In a nutshell, you can earn up to $300 for acquiring steps on their Go Zone pedometer.

So far, I can not figure out how the program is really supposed to work.  It doesn’t seem realistic to earn enough miles/steps to achieve the $300.  I haven’t found any information that gives sample workouts or plans to achieve the goal.  I’ve read that you don’t have to be a marathoner to reach the goal, but I’m not yet convinced.  Several places within the Virgin Health Miles website, I’ve read that you should have 5 days of 7,000 steps or more.  I believe that is doable each week.  However, you earn 60 points for 7,000 steps. Five days a week of that will getto about 15,000 points in a year, but 36,000 points is needed to get to $300.  There are tons of other things that earn points.  So far, most of them are busy work.  You get points for signing into the site, points for signing up, points for different challenges (that are undefined thus far) and points for entering activity.  There’s also a whole section for active minutes which doesn’t seem to apply to me.  You can get credit for active minutes if you are fast enough.  I have tons of endurance, but speed is not my forte.

Here are some examples:

  • water aerobics class – doesn’t count since we can’t wear the pedometer in the water
  • strength training – counts for a few steps, but doesn’t get much considering how tough of a workout it is
  • spinning – my toughest workout of the week, but I don’t spin fast enough for long enough for me to get many active minutes

So far, I think the program is geared toward runners or fast walkers.  It’s not geared for a variety of workouts or endurance events.

It’s good for me to play along since I can use any motivation that comes my way in terms of taking a few extra steps.  But, I also don’t like to play these kind of games when money is involved.


Yesterday, we had our second workout in the pool.  It was much better (harder) than the first workout.  We only had about 16 people or so.  Last time we had 40.  I think the smaller numbers made the group more manageable.  Both Adam and Bobbie were the instructors again.  After a brief 5 minute warm up, we divided into two groups.  Adam worked with one group on the deep water and Bobbie worked with the other group in shallower water.  We had floatation belts on for most of this workout.

With Adam in the deep end, we did things like cross-country skiing, jumping jacks, knee lifts, etc.  All of these were done without touching the bottom.  Then, the groups switched and we did a different series of exercises with Bobbie.

Later in the class, we did some work with the noodles.  There are some stiffer white noodles that get used for classes since they are stiffer.  You can do bicycles and other cool exercises with them.

The last part of the class, I was back in the deep end.  To make it harder, we didn’t use the floatation belts.  So, we were treading water the whole time.  We formed a circle and then tossed a small water basketball around.  It’s incredibly hard to throw a ball and keep treading water.  We started just throwing the ball to the person next to us and then we made things more interesting by throwing the ball to whomever we wanted.

I left the workout before the formal stretch and cool down since the kids were in the playroom and needed picked up.

I enjoyed the workout and I am looking forward to trying Yoga for the first time next Wednesday.

 Posted by at 7:12 PM

Today, my partner in crime and I met with Jen, our trainer.  A week or two ago, I had inquired about doing a kettlebell workout.  I was so glad that today was the day.  I had been intrigued by them ever since I attended a demo about them at the Fit Bloggin’ conference last year.

I spent about 20 minutes on the elliptical for a warm up.

Then, we met up for our workout.  All of our weights through the rows used the kettlebells.

  • Multi-Directional Lunges x 5ea. way

3 sets of the following:

  • Kettlebell Swings 15lb x 1:00 minute
  • KB Push Press 12lb x :30 seconds each arm
  • Windmill 5lb x 15ea side
  • Twisting Squats 15lb x 30

2 sets of the following:

  • Tactile Lunges 15lb x length of gym (passing the kettlebell under your leg after each step of the lunge)
  • Bentover Row 15lb x 20ea. side
  • Mountain Climbers on Slideboard x 50 (with crazy booties to help my feet slide)

1 set of the following:

  • Box Squat to Press 18lb bodybar x 20
  • Isometric Bicep Curl 12lb x 20ea arm

My partner in crime had to leave a bit early.  Jen helped me stretch out well.  I think that was a good thing.

An hour is a really long time to do strength training.  I’m already sore.  It was crazy.  It was hard.  It was good for me.  I could fall in love with kettlebell training.   I can’t wait until next week’s workout.

 Posted by at 7:59 PM

Yesterday, my partner in crime and I had our trainer workout with Jen.  Last week, I remember commenting that we didn’t do much leg work.  Some workouts are more balanced for  upper and lower bodies.  Others focus more on one or the other.  Well, we made up for it yesterday.  My quads are really sore.  I’m reminded of my workout every time I stand up and every time I use the stairs.

I was on the phone about our home refinance, so I didn’t really get a formal warm up.  I also didn’t feel all that great, but I try hard not to be a whiner.

Here’s the workout

  • 2 sets of the following:
  • Squat to bench/Curl/Press 5lb x 30
  • Overhead Tricep Pull Dropset 50lb->10lb x 12ea
  • Standing Row Dropset 60lb ->20lb x 12ea
  • Lateral Lunges x 20ea
  • Isometric Front/Lateral Raises 3lb x 20ea
  • Step-up to Reverse Lunge x 15ea
  • Bench Pushups x 15
  • 45degree sidebends 10lb x 15ea
  • Good Mornings x 15
  • Walking Lunges w/ Overhead Press 10lb x length of gym (1 set)

I’m pretty sure it was the 2 sets of 3 different lunges that did in the quads.  Apparently, I have weak quads and need to keep doing more exercises.

Despite the quads, my arms and shoulders and even obliques  are feeling pretty good today.  I’m so glad to be doing these small group workouts.  It’s so different strength training for a full hour.

Despite my quads, I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes of walking on the indoor track.

Next up:  My first workout at Anytime Fitness in the AM.



I’ve been a member of the JCC for almost four and a half years.  I have been pretty consistent with my workouts during that time.  Lately, I’ve been really looking at my workout schedule and the type of workouts that I work into my schedule.

  • Monday Spinning: This is a great workout for me.  It’s a full hour of cardio and is challenging.
  • Tuesday Water Aerobics:  I’m still working on making this class more challenging.  I love the water and incorporating it into my routine feels good.
  • Wednesday ??:  This is my “pot luck” day.  For me, this usually means a rather unplanned workout.  If we get to the gym in time, I’d like to take the power sculpt class.  In reality, that doesn’t happen and my options are limited since we leave early to go to the library.  I don’t want to strength train since that is on my Thursday schedule.  I usually end up with the elliptical.
  • Thursday Strength Training with Trainer:  This is one of my best workouts of the week!
  • Friday ??: This is another “pot luck” day.  We get to the JCC late so the kids can enjoy Teacher Debbie.  So, all of the classes are out.  Currently, I’m walking the track for a bit to cheer on my partner in crime as she trains for a 5K.  I’m looking into a small group yoga class, but nothing is set up yet.
  • Saturday/Sunday:  Although I try to be active on the weekends, the reality is that I don’t get real workouts in.  This also means that I’m only get strength training once a week.

So far, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are great workouts.  Wednesday and Friday aren’t.  I need to figure out how to get exercise in on the weekends.

To help with this goal, I joined another gym.  I know it seems crazy, but our weekend time is precious.  It takes me 13 minutes to drive to the JCC and another 5-15 to park, walk inside, go to the lockers, and get started.  To get a 45 minute workout, I need at least an hour and a half.  Anytime Fitness is just over a half mile from our house.  If I drive there, I can be putting on shoes at home one minute and working out 5 minutes later.  Ideally, I’d like to walk/jog up to the gym, do strength training and walk/jog back.  I think I can get a really good workout done in an hour.  The gym is open 24/7.  I have a key fob to use to enter and it’s a secure spot.  I don’t plan on working out at crazy hours, so there will always be people around.  My weekend goal is to be back home by 8AM and that’s when the JCC opens!

I’d also love to get one or two extra cardio workouts in during the week.  But, the weekends are my first priority.  Saturday is Nick’s birthday and I’m planning to start my day out with a workout so that we can spend the rest of the day having fun.

 Posted by at 9:27 PM