This month became a bit of a jumble, if I'm honest. February should have been a lovely, clean, organised month when it came to my exercise, as, with 28 days (exactly 4 weeks) and the month starting on a Sunday, it should have been a straight run from start to finish. But, having gone away to the Netherlands for the first week of the month - and I'm not complaining - the plan kind of went out the window, and instead of starting something new, I returned to things I'd done before. A new combination of, yes, but still nothing new.
My intention had been to run through 4 circuits of November's awesome kettlebell workout and then follow it up with Jillian Michaels' Kickbox Fastfix on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and then do 2 circuits of November's Booty Barre workout followed by Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. My intention.
I'm not sure what happened. When we got back from the holiday I was so excited to start my exercise again (insane, I know), but I struggled immediately. I completed 3 circuits of the kettlebell routine and as soon as I dropped into my first push press of the 4th circuit, my quads were screaming, and not in a good way. I knew if I continued I was going to do myself harm, so I moved on to the upper body kickboxing routine to shake my muscles out. I was able to complete that with no trouble. The next day, however, I was aching like mad when I woke up. I did my exercise anyway, completing my 2 circuits of the Booty Barre and completeing Level 2 of Yoga Meltdown, but I was aching so much that I knew that doing the kettlebells again the next day would be unlikely. I was right. The trouble was I'd decided I'd do a day of cardio instead, and did 30 minutes of dance followed, stubbornly, by the upper body kickboxing routine again. I was dead for the rest of the day, and I knew, given how much I was still aching, that I needed a day off. So, on Thursday, I reluctantly did so. Woke up on Friday aching a lot less, so I jumped back in and did the kettlebells because I knew I had to stick with it and push through, but this time I didn't attempt a 4th circuit, and I could already feel my muscles protesting at the end of the 3rd.
So I had a bit of a messy first week, taking a spontaneous rest day and replacing one workout with something completely different. I don't feel I did badly then, though. I didn't change my workout or take a rest day because I was being lazy, it was because my body was at its limit, and, in added fairness, I had combined two high-intensity workouts for one day, and two other lower intensity but still very tough workouts for the next. In a way, I can't say I'm surprised it went that way, and while one of those days was replaced by cardio...it wasn't exactly low-impact, as I chose the highest energy dance DVD I have (Hip Hop Workout 2 - highly recommended) and went through that for 30 minutes.
Then came the second week. I assumed, as Monday the 16th rolled around, that my body would have caught up after having gone 3-days-2-days instead of a straight 6, but I think I was wrong. I decided not to try a 4th circuit again, and my body wasn't too happy with me by the end of the 3rd, but it had improved from the previous week, and I ran through the kickboxing DVD - I had intended to switch between the upper and lower body workouts from the Kickbox FastFix, but I ended up only using the upper body because my lower body was getting almost too much from everything else already. I then went ahead and did the Booty Barre and Yoga Meltdown as planned the next day, but I could feel my body getting upset again, so I decided that, instead of a rest day, I would take day 3 to do something else. I picked out a new workout that was mentioned in this month's Women's Fitness magazine, something that sounded really unique (I'm not going to tell you what it was, though, because, given how it went, I'm hoping to do that workout, in full, in April), and I thought it wouldn't be that tough, so it would be a good low-key workout. I did another half hour of dance cardio before hand to make sure I got myself warm enough for the workout so I could give it a proper go, but also to ensure that I achieved something if the workout proved as low-key as I expected. I was wrong. It was tough, and I knew when I'd finished that I'd have to take the next day off again. So Thursday of the second week was spent reluctantly resting. Then, on Friday, I returned to my kettlebell and Kickbox pattern, and the Booty Barre and Yoga Meltdown on Saturday to round the week off.
By this point the month was a scramble. Once again, I don't feel I did a bad job in the second week, either. My issue was a lack of energy, and by taking Thursdays and Sundays off, I gave myself 5 days of good, high-intensity exercise for the most part, while giving my body a chance to recover. But, because it was all such a mess, and I had to use a new DVD in order to review it for Women's Fitness magazine, I rearranged the final week.
I used the kettlebell and kickboxing circuits on Monday, replaced Tuesday with the same workout I tried on Wednesday the week before to better decide if it would happen in April or not, then tested the DVD for Women's Fitness from start to finish on Wednesday, took Thursday off, and ended the week with the kettlebell and kickbox circuits on Friday, and the Booty Barre and Yoga Meltdown on Saturday.
I had hoped to have achieved a lot this month, and while I can't deny that I worked hard, I feel like I broke all of my plans. I wanted to know if the addition of the kettlebell and Booty Barre circuits would have made a difference to two already great and proven DVDs, as when I did them by themselves back in November, while I loved it, certain circumstances meant I was unable to really feel how good the workout was for me, and, unfortunately, I still can't give a verdict because of the mess and exhaustion. But, I did come across something new, something I really enjoyed and brought back some enthusiasm and hope to truly dive into in a month's time; I did get tired of the Kickbox FastFix DVD, which is why I decided to keep at it for another 3 weeks, because I loved it so much, so I really feel I got the most out of it (and it took me all the way until Friday the 20th to finally decide I'd had enough of it); unfortunately more circumstances - this time an unavoidable monthly circumstance - meant that neither the tape measure 'nor the scales saw much of an improvement on the day I took my measurements, and as I only do it at the start of each month after a solid rest day, I'm forced to take the results I've been given. But though the scales didn't budge, and the tape measure moved about a quarter of an inch down, my whole body feels much more toned, and it's not my imagination. When you hit your period, you never feel like you've lost weight, but this time, I do, and I look it, too.
So this month was a mess. An interesting mess, a difficult mess, but a successful one in a number of ways. I also fell in love with Nakd bars since I featured them on the blog a couple of weeks ago and have stocked up on them big-time (taste amazing, 100 calories and many of them count as one of your 5-a-day - what's not to love?!), so I've got an even more reliable supply of healthy snacks to keep me from reaching for chocolate bars (they're still certainly a part of my diet, but I've been practising moderation and doing very well with it, so anything that can help me make it last is welcome).
March, however, is the biggy. I've been putting...admittedly perhaps a little too much pressure on myself for March, but I've got lots of things stocked up to increase my dedication and my results. I've even thought ahead (read: bought one of two DVDs) to April and am even considering May's workouts already, because I think I've really hit on something that works and I've found a few things I want to try.
One thing I've found that I'd love to try is called PoundFit - it's only available in the US and Canada, however, so that sucks immensely, but it looks so awesome, so if any of you over there are looking for something truly unique, look into it. It's cardio and strength, but your weights are actually weighted drumsticks and it's all about sort of air drumming. It looks so. Effing. Cool. So if you have the opportunity to go to a class or buy the DVDs and the drumsticks, do it, because I can't. Tell me if it's as amazing as it seems. I already contacted them regarding European distribution, but while they told me there's no plans at the moment, they also said they'd forward my email to the higher ups in order to help them assess the demand. So that's good. With any luck, I've made a small dent in encouraging broader distribution. Assuming they did pass it on...