After I decided that I couldn't keep up with P90X because of the time commitment (an hour plus most days), I was kind of just winging it. I was doing lots of different cardio DVDs/routines and lifting weights too (using Jari Love DVDs or routines from the Chalean Extreme(CE) program though not in any particular order). Last week I finally decided to commit to following the CE program exclusively but I decided to start at Month 2, the Push month, which emphasizes using weight that is heavy enough so that you really have to struggle to get out the last 3 reps in the set (with good form, of course). The main advantage of CE over P90x is the time factor. No workout is more than 45 minutes long at most. Another key difference is that there are two rest days as opposed to one in the P90X program. I use one of the rest days for cardio and the other for yoga. Another difference is that most of the routines in CE focus on all-over weight lifting as opposed to isolating areas on different days. I'm not sure how I feel about that approach but it is definitely a solid program and I'm looking forward to getting to the end and noting my results. I like Chalean's energy and I think she gives excellent instruction so it makes it easier to get up and do it. If I had it my way though, I would still be doing P90X because I like the intensity of the program even despite the fact that I have to add about an extra hour or so of cardio to the 2 hours that are built into the program. I think weight training is wonderful and it is an essential part of my fitness routine. It's amazing that I started out barely being able to move 5 and 6 pound weights. Currently I'm curling 18 lbs. in each hand and squatting with 44+ pounds. I can't wait to see just how heavy I am going to go! There are hundreds of reasons to lift weights--especially for women and I always encourage folks' interested in fitness to start a strength training routine. Like Chalean always says, as a woman if you're not really trying to bulk up in a concentrated way, you won't because women just don't have the kind of testosterone. Lifting weights nicely complements the kind of strength work I do in yoga (which is using my own weight as resistance).
Like P90X, CE is primarily focused on strength training so I have to find ways to get the cardio I need. I've taken up running and like weight training, I've been pleasantly surprised at how much I really enjoy it. There is just something about running that's glamorous in a way, yes, but also super challenging mentally and physically. To me, there's nothing like setting a goal (like the next stoplight) and making it there and then pushing through to the next stoplight. I thoroughly enjoy the time to listen to my music without anyone interrupting. Or just running in silence listening to the rhythm of my feet striking the pavement. Since I'm a beginning runner, I am experiencing some novice issues like what kind of running shoe is for me, what headphones will actually stay in my ears while running, what my ideal pace is, and what kind of goals I should be setting for myself. Luckily for me, I discovered that my local library subscribes to Runner's World--talk about about an abundance of information. It's awesome.
So right now, I'm doing the CE program (and also doing Ab Ripper X from P90x) three times a week., cardio 3 times a week and yoga twice a week. I run on Sundays (my long run) and on Thursdays (a shorter run after an hour or so of yoga) so running is my main form of cardio these days. Once a week, my cardio consists of step aerobics such a Cathe Friedrich's Athletic Step, plyometrics/kickboxing blends like Jillian Micheal's Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism, or if I want a workout that is low-impact but still a calorie-burner/sweat inducer, Aerospace NYC AeroBox.
That's where I am with it right now. When I'm done with CE, I'd like to get into kettlebell workouts or try a different kind of strength training. I know that I would just love to get an interchangeable dumbbell set at some point in the near future. I think it would be an excellent investment in that I'd have a large range of weight to use and switching weights would be a quick and easy process that doesn't involve calculation. Right now, I am using the hubby's weights which consist of threaded dumbbell handles and an array of weights that go on them and some neoprene handweights. To figure out how much weight I'm using, I am constantly with a calculator adding and subtracting 2.5 lbs, 5 lbs, etc . . . Also, from an aesthetic perspective, it would help a lot. The weights are in corner in our living room and the kids just love to mess with them leaving all over the place instead of neatly stacked the way I leave them. I still haven't decided yet but it's between the Powerblock 2.5 to 50 lb. adjustable set or the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells. I'm drawn towards the Powerblocks because they look less sleek which often means they are more durable. The SelectTech's are sexy which means (in my mind at least) that they may break more easily. I can adjust both weights in seconds and that's the main reason why I'm not looking into the Ironmaster's which are supposedly the best on the market.
So that's my fitness rundown. It may have bored the hell out of some of you but fitness is really a huge part of my life right now. And I hope it will be an important part for the rest of my days.
There's nothing quite like feeling and being fit and strong.